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Full text of "Jungle Stories Spring 1954 (Fiction House)"

SHEENA 



QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE 

The sword of Cimshai 




SWORD OF GIMSHAI 

By JOSEPH W. MUSGRAVE 

Alone, Bob Reilly would have been easy prey for those fierce marauding 

Bambala tribesmen. Bat fate had sent him stumbling into the camp of 

Sheena; the jungle-woman . . . Sheena— who already had written in 

Bambala blood the great legend of the warrior-queen. 



SHEENA lay ufimoving on the bed of 
fragrant grasses, her hands clasped 
behind her blonde head. A gentle 
southeast wind blowing through the open 
door of the tree house touched her with 
caressing fingers, whispered of a jungle 
long awake and busy. 

But this morning the murmurous jungle 
noises held no interest for Sheena. A feel- 
ing of oppression and loneliness had 
gripped her from the moment of her awak- 
ening. 

A dozen times since sun-up her pet ape, 



Chim, had left his noisy pursuits in nearby 
tree tops to peer worriedly in the door at a 
mistress who would lie abed on such a won- 
derful day. Similarly, in the clearing below, 
the great elephant, Tamba, stirred restless- 
ly, impatient and puzzled because the girl 
he looked upon as his own private pet 
hadn't appeared for the ceremony of swim- 
ming, eating, and playing over which he 
regularly presided. 

For the first time, though, her animal 
friends weren't enough. The usual joy she 
took in teasing, rough-housing and,lectur- 



JUNGLE STORIES 



ing them was gone. Even the familiar, deep 
cough of the powerful, black-mancd lion, 
Sabor, coming at intervals from across the 
river failed to excite Shcena. She had raised 
Sabor from a cub, and though he would 
wander away for days at a time, he always 
came back, as he was doing this morning 
after an eight-day prowl, to dog her foot- 
steps for a time and cause trouble with the 
other pets through his dangerous jealousy. 

The jungle girl had probed without suc- 
cess for some explanation of her depression. 
She knew that black men often were sick 
and for f a time she wondered if that could 
be her trouble, though the only illness she 
had ever known was the stomach ache from 
eating loo enthusiastically of unripe fruit. 

She had been laid up a few times with 
hurts suffered hi life and death battles with 
jungle beasts, but her feelings on those 
occasions were totally different from the 
way she felt now. 

Sheena's hair was blonde and long, her 
eyes a deep and startling blue, her full lips 
as richly red as sunstruck rubies. Her skin 
was tanned a soft, golden hue and she had 
the, proud, lithe carriage of a truly beautiful 
woman. 

And yet actually Sheena had no under- 
standing of beauty in the terms a civilized 
woman thinks of it. Her body was pleasing 
to her, yes, because in its firm, supple sleek- 
ness and sculptored lines, she recognized 
the same qualities she admired in the great 
cats and the arrow-swift antelope. 

But as to whether she was attractive to 
men never entered her mind. That basic 
feminine criterion of looks, the response of 
the male, was a yardstick as yet unknown to 
her, for up to now Sheena had never known 
a man of her own kind. 

When she was younger the indistinct 
faces of a white man and woman some- 
times had come to her in her dreams, faces 
that were familiar and yet somehow beyond 
the reach of her memory. Her earliest mem- 
ories were of the Abamas, over whom the 
old witch woman of the tribe. N'bid EU, 
had predicted that Sheena would one day 
rule. To prepare her for tint task, N'bid 
Ela had taken her into the jungle and 
brought her up apart from the black chil- 
dren as though she were a high priestess in 
training. But for many moons now, N'bid 



Ela had been dead and a great, lost loneli- 
ness grew in Sheena. 

Formerly; there had been no blacks in 
Sheena's section of the jungle, for the 
Abamas lived fives suns to the south and 
they continued to obey the dead witch-wom- 
an's taboo against invading Sheena's priv- 
acy. "She will come to you when she is 
ready," N'bid Ela had said. 

But five moons ago the warlike Bambala 
had come suddenly from the north and- 
settled near her. In her first encounter with 
them, Sheena had barely escaped capture. 
Since then, the blacks had made sporadic 
attempts to hunt her down. Not wanting to 
cause a tribal war, Sheena hadn't told the 
Abamas of her trouble, and more recently 
now, the Bambala had left her alone and 
she had noticed that on one of those infre- 
quent occasions when she encountered a 
hunter, it was the black who turned and 
fled. 

BUT Sheena did not think of these things 
now as she lay despondently on her 
bed of grasses. She thought of little except 
that life was no longer good and exciting. 

In the clearing below the treehouse, the 
elephant, Tamba, trumpeted impatiently for 
her. Hardly had the ear-splitting noises of 
his summons died away when her pet ape, 
Chim, landed with a loud thump in the 
door of the house, scampered across the 
floor and thrust bis wizened, old-man's face 
close to hers. 

Chim chattered softly, sympathetically to 
her at first. Then getting no response, he 
fell silent, peered mor; intently with his 
little button eyes. He turned away heart- 
brokenly, making sad sounds in his throat 
as he plodded toward the door. 

"Oh, all right," Sheena muttered wear- 
ily, "I'll get up if it will calm you wild 
dingos down. By the red eyes of Gimshai, 
why can't you and Tamba tend to your own 
business for one day and leave me alone?" 

The jungle girl spoke the rapid, musical 
speech of the Abamas. At the sound of her 
voice, Chim whirled, an almost human look 
of delight wreathing his black little face. 
He began to bound up and down like 1 
rubber ball, chattering with wild anima- 
tion. 

Sheena stood up, smoothing and straight- 



SWORD OF GIMSBAl 

ening her leopard skin shotts and halter. 

She took her sheathed knife from a wall 

peg, belted it on. Then she picked up a full 

quiver of arrows, fastened it and a bow so 

they rested comfortably between her shoul- 

derblades. She scowled at the ape, and then 

with sudden animal quickness, she mim- 
icked him exactly, even to the sound of his 

voice. 

The ape froze, his mouth open, his head 

inclined forward so that he peered at her 

like an old man looking over the top of his 

glasses. Then shrieking with pleasure, he 

turned and whipped through the door, as if 

meaning to tell Tamba, the elephant, of the 

wonderful joke. 

Shccna came out on the small platform 

which served as a porch for the treehouse. 

Two purple and gold virini birds whirred 

upward from a nearby branch to the harsh 

scolding of a parrot. Ten yards away in a 

great slanting column of sunlight, a cloud 
of butterflies wheeled in an endless, dizzy- 
ing dance. 

The jungle girl looked down through the 
gently swaying pattern of branches to where 
Tamba, with ponderous solemnity, was 
scratching his tough hide against a tree. At 
the edge of the platform lay a coiled length 
of liana, one end of which was tied to a 
heavy branch. 

With a sigh, Sheena nudged the rope 
into space with her foot. She leaned over, 
caught the vine with her hands, and swung 
off the platform. The swift, sure agility 
with which she shinnied down the liana be- 
spoke an unusual strength for a woman. 

As her feet touched the ground, the ele- 
phant was waiting for her. Tamba looked 
down at her from his great height, shifting 
his ears like mammoth fans. Then he 
snaked his trunk about her, and lifting her, 
swung toward the river twenty yards away. 
"No, no, Tamba," she protested irritably. 
"Let me down. I don't want to go swim- 
ming this morning." 

The bull was at the edge of the water 
before he realized Sheena was in earnest. 
He set her down, peered at her with the 
remarkably intelligent eyes of his kind, 
seemingly trying to discover what was 
wrong. 

His look gave Sheena a twinge of con- 
science, and trying to hide that fact even 



from herself, she turned away, stared^ stiffly 
downstream. She immediately gave an exas- 
perated grunt. Her glance had lighted on a 
heavy, black-maned figure carefully work- 
ing its way over the river by using a low 
Hmb as a bridge. It was Sabor, the lion, 
coming to make more trouble for her. 

"I'm not going to pat up with it," she 
said fiercely. "What do these animals think 
I am, a slave?" 

With a toss of her chin, she started across 
the clearing toward the jungle. She heard 
Tamba shift his feet, knew he was consid- 
ering following her. Off to her right, Chim 
came somersaulting out of a tree, landed on 
his feet and scampered to tttch her. 

"Leave me alone!" she cried. And sud- 
denly she was running, fleeing from her 
animal friends as though devils pursued 
her. 

She sped into the cloaking green under- 
brush, careless of the branches lashing at 
her. She ran on and on, halting only when 
her breath began coming in hard gasps. 

When she stopped and collected herself, 
she felt foolish and ashamed. She shook 
her blonde head, a momentary wetness in 
her eyes. What was wrong with her? Had 
she somehow caught the strange madness 
which sometimes came upon animals, driv- 
ing them off to live in the bush alone, 
nursing a crazed anger against the whole 
jungle? 



SHEENA glanced around to get her bear- 
ings. She hadn't paid any heed to the 
course she was taking and was surprised 
now to find how far outside her usual hunt- 
ing ground she had gone. Though there 
certainly never had been any agreement 
made between them, there was a vague line 
of demarcation between her own range and 
that of the Bambala. The blacks them- 
selves had more or less drawn the imagin- 
ary line in the past few months and seldom 
penetrated beyond it. 

Ordinarily, Sheena would have turned 
back immediately to the safety of her own 
lands, but in her mood today she didn't care 
about danger or anything else. She sat down 
heavily on a fallen tree and put her head 
in her hands. 

The sun crept to nearly midway in the 
sky before the jungle girl finaHy got up. A 



JUNGLE STORIES 



nunger pain knifed through her, reminding 
her she hadn't eaten that day. She was stil! 
standing indecisively, when an errant breeze 
brought her the scent of ripening fruit. 

In her life in the jungle, her sense of 
smell had become almost as keen as an ani- 
mal's. She went straight to the stand of 
trees, heavy with large blue-skinned plums. 
When the taste of the plums palled, she 
wandered on to some nut trees and finally 
topped off her effortless meal with a yellow 
panyanox pear. 

Just as she threw away the pear core, 
Sheena heard a distant, echoing roar like a 
small blast of thunder. The sound was a 
completely new one to her and she listened, 
frowning. Then twice more the muted thun- 
der came, seeming to roll close along the 
ground. 

Abruptly, all about her the jungle was 
listening. The small rustlings in the under- 
brush, so faint and continuous that one grew 
almost oblivious of them, suddenly stilled. 
The harsh voices of the parrots, the trilling, 
liquid notes of the song birds ceased in one 
velvet clap of silence. 

The forest listened, weighing the danger 
in the alien sound. Then as the noise blasted 
thrice again and still nothing happened, 
like a music box slowly beginning to play, 
the activity of the little creatures resumed. 
The strange thunder was ignored and then 
forgotten by each animal or fowl the mo- 
ment it decided it personally wasn't threat- 
ened. 

But because of that odd, restless quirk 
in the human mind, call it a thirst for 
knowledge, or insatiable curiosity, or a plain 
contrary urge to meddle, Sheena reacted 
quite differently from the jungle animals. 
What did this new and different sound 
mean? What caused it? Could it be there 
was something in the jungle she didn't know 
about? 

Eyes bright with interest, Sheena began 
, running in the direction of the continuing 
blasts of noise. She moved with an ante- 
lope's grace, seeming to pick the quickest 
and easiest path by instinct. There was no 
resemblance between the flashing drive of 
her long, beautifully modeled legs and that 
knock-kneed, ridiculously aimless attempt 
of a civilized woman to run. 

In a matter of minutes, she came to a 



broad trail burrowing like a dimly-lit tun- 
nel .through the choking growth of trees, 
shrubs and vines. It was one of the ancient 
elephant tracks which serve as the highways 
of Africa. The echoing blasts were very 
close now and coming rapidly closer to her. 

She started to step out on the trail, but 
her ears picked up the sound of pounding 
feet. She drew back out of sight, and sens- 
ing for the first time that she might be 
running headlong into danger, she leaped 
high, caught a limb and drew herself up 
into a tree. She found a perch in the middle 
branches, where she commanded a clear 
view of the trail but would be hidden from 
sight herself so long as she lay flat in a nest 
of vines. 

A dark figure sprinted around a far 
curve in the path. A second later, two more 
runners burst into view. Then a whole clot 
of jostling, clawing bodies was pouring 
around the turn. 

Sheena' s eyes narrowed, her body sudden- 
ly taut. As the blacks swept closer along the 
shadowed dimness of the trail, she realized 
they were strange tribesmen, not the Bam- 
bala, her enemies. They were obviously 
terror-stricken, each man fighting to get 
ahead of the others. 

None of them had the look of warriors, 
though the three men in the lead were ■ 
armed with spears and shields. Most of the 
natives had heavy packs strapped on their 
backs, and as they ran, they were tearing 
free of the carrying straps and letting the 
packs shatter on the ground. Out of sight 
around the turn, the explosions were sound- 
ing sharper and clearer now, each blast 
shocking the fleeing natives to greater speed. 

Sheena couldn't imagine what horror the 
panting, straining natives fled from. Then, 
abruptly, when the stampeding blacks were 
no more than a short spear throw away, 
from both sides of the trail erupted the 
dread Bambala war cry, "Bibalo Aka 
N'Kolor 

That frenzied cry repeated over and over 
with hysterical shrillness brought back to 
Sheena in a rush of memory that grim morn- 
ing when they first tried to capture her. 
swarming out of ambush, a hundred jackals 
against one unwarned woman. But in her 
they had met a raging, te.uing leopard in- 
stead of a fear-stricken victim. And on tint 



S WORD OF GIMSBAl 



day Sheena hid killed for the first time, had 
written in Bambala blood the first lines of 
the legend of the warrior-queen which 
month to month from that time on was to 
grow more fabulous. 

"Blood for N'Koto!" Blood for the evfl 
god of the Bambala! Blood for that hideous, 
swollen idol before which the Bambala 
groveled and prayed before they went out 
to hunt down innocent, helpless victims. 

Sheena snarled like an angry cat, ber lips 
shearing back to reveal bared teeth. Out 
of the underbrush along the trail, the Bam- 
bala swept in two great waves. The ambush 
had been perfectly planned. At point-blank 
range they hammered their spears into their 
prey, and then ripping free their swords, 
they charged in to complete their grisly 
work. 

As the painted warriors fell upon the 
terrorized bearers, Sheena's hand darted to 
her bow. All thought of her own safety 
was gone. Rage, red and flaming, seared 
over her. It was but the work of a moment 
to tug loose the slip-knot securing the bow 
across her shoulders. 

With the flashing speed that comes from 
long practice, she snapped the bow-string 
taut. She leaped upright on the limb, as per- 
fectly balanced as though her feet rested on 
solid ground. With nerveless precision, the 
jungle girl began feeding arrows into the. 
tightly packed attackers. 

A Bambala warrior threw up his arms, 
and screaming, dropped to his knees. An- 
other pitched forward and was trampled 
underfoot. Two more collapsed suddenly 
like puppets whose strings have been cut. 
The fifth bent double, an arrow hammered 
completely through his middle, and began 
to run in circles like a dog with his tail on 
fire. 

Sheena had concentrated her fire on the 
Bambala nearest to her, those blocking the 
flight of the bearers. When she knocked 
those five men out of the uneven battle, it 
was like stabbing a knife into a waterfilled 
bladder. The crazed bearers who had sur- 
vived the initial onslaught came spurting 
through the opening she had created. In a 
blind, heedless stampede they drove out of 
the trap and flung off at all angles into the 
forest. 

The mass of Bambala splintered apart, 



groups of three to five waniois taking out 
after each of the frightened humaa rabbits. 
The attackers were raging more wildly than 
ever, now that an easy shujg&ter had turned 
into a difficult chase. 

But the warriors nearest those men drop- 
ped by Sheena's arrows didn't join the 
pursuit. Some of them bad seen the arrows 
rip into their fellows, and jabbering ex- 
citedly, they pointed out to the others that 
the attack had come from a new, hidden 
foe. 

Then one of them, considering the angle 
at which the arrows had struck, suddenly 
spotted Sheena standing wide-legged high 
up on a swaying limb. He slabbed his finger 
at the slim, white figure outlined against 
the deep green leaves. 

"Tioto Nomi!" he cried. *"The Forest 
Woman!" 

A low, hoarse, shivering sound, like the 
rush of wind through a deep gorge, broke 
from the Bambala. There was fear in that 
sound, and hatred, too. This was the woman 
they had hunted innumer-able times without 
success. For all their numbers, jdl their 
weapons, all their wiles, she made fools of 
them. 

Clearly, no mere woman would be able 
to outwit warriors. And there were other 
things that showed she was no ordinary 
flesh and blood human. For instance, hadn't 
she been seen talking with fierce jungle 
beasts, or hunting and playing with them. 
She had demonstrated that she was immune 
to the curses and spells of the witchdoctors, 
to the proven juju which would wither and 
kill a black man in a matter of days. 

And yet at the same time, many happen- 
ings in the Bambala kraal, such as the un- 
seasonal windstorm two moons ago which 
tore off the roofs of half the huts or the 
strange overnight invasion of snakes after 
the last rain, could only be attributed to 
the evil magic of someone like the Forest 
Woman. Surely, she was the spawn of de- 
mons, endowed with a powerful personal 
juju, else the jungle devils themselves 
would long ago have devoured her. 

Fear does different things to different 
men. Most of the warriors were momentarily 
paralyzed, stunned by the knowledge that 
Sheena for the first time openly had invaded 
their lands and attacked them. But one squat. 



8 JUNGLE 

bull-chested native was galvanized into 
action. 

"Save yourselves!" he screeched. "Strike 
before she kills us!" 

He tugged a spear from the body of one 
of the murdered bearers, his eyes distended, 
his mouth a rubbery, gaping hole. He ran 
forward two steps, hefting the spear for 
the cast. 

II 

SHEENA'S arrow took the spearman in 
the throat, threw him flopping backward 
like a beheaded chicken. But the man's 
action broke the spell which held the other 
Bambala. They went scrambling for spears 
among the dead bearers. 

Swift as she was, there wasn't time for 
Sliccna to escape, and against a massed spear 
attack her bow couldn't save her. Too late 
she realized her deep-seated hatred of the 
B.tmbala had betrayed her into fatal reck- 
lessness. 

Then, at that moment, as death reached 
for her, three men came fast around the 
far turn of the trail behind the warriors. 
Two of them were husky blacks wearing 
faded khaki shorts. They clutched rifles in 
their big hands, nearly empty cartridge belts 
slapping their waists as they ran. 

The third man was white, a tall, broad- 
shouldered fellow with the driving, high- 
stepping gait of a football fullback. A rifle 
was gripped in his hands, a pistol belted 
about his lean middle. He was hatless, his 
black hair tangled and unruly. And though 
strain and fatigue lined his square-jawed 
face, giving him at first glance a deceptive 
look of maturity, a more searching inspec- 
tion told that he was in his very early 
twenties. 

The two blacks faltered, broke stride, 
when they saw the Bambala milling among 
tiie dead and dying bearers. Both of them, 
eyes suddenly gleaming white; cast fearful 
glances over their shoulders. The white 
man's voice lashed them, drove them on a 
few slowing steps further. But the same 
panic that had overtaken the bearers was 
fountaining up in the two guards. 

As though invisible ropes had snared 
them, the guards stopped, making futile 
little turns and twists without ever actually 



STORIES 

stirring from their tracks. The white man's 
-voice whipped them again, angry urgency 
in it. 

One of them shook his head violently, 
saying he wouldn't charge the Bambala. 
The other gave no sign he even heard. For 
a desperate moment the white man hesitated, 
then his mouth twisting bitterly, he plunged 
forward alone, triggering his rifle from hip- 
level as he ran. 

His shouts to the guards had jerked the 
Bambala warriors' attention away from 
Shecna. They gave cry like a dog pack when 
they saw the three new victims. Two of 
them, spears lifting high, leaped to meet 
the oncoming white. 

Then the white man's rifle was bucking 
and jolting in his rigidly straining hands. 
At that- range even unaimed shots couldn't 
miss. The crash of the explosions echoed 
and reechoed, sound piling on sound, in 
the cavern-like trail. 

One of the charging spearmen seemed 
to run into a stone wall. In mid-stride he 
slammed against the unseen barrier, went 
reeling backwards in a twisting fall. By the 
time he hit the ground, two more men in 
the cluster of natives behind him were going 
down and a third was screaming with a 
shattered arm. 

These were tough, hard-bitten warriors, 
but this was their first experience in facing 
gunfire. That terrible roaring firestick was 
as awesome as a herd of charging elephants. 
Fearful magic was in a weapon which in 
some unexplained way spat death through 
the air. 

And the best measure of the firestick's 
magic was the way the lone white man ran 
straight at them. Only a man who knew 
he couldn't lose would fling himself against 
overwhelming odds. Aye, flesh and blood 
couldn't combat the magic of that firestick. 

The Bambala didn't guess the colossal 
bluff the white man was running on them. 
It took iron courage to drive at those 
blacks, triggering the last of his rifle cart- 
ridges, realizing he was finished if they 
didn't break before he reached them. 

It wasn't lunatic bravery that dictated his 
action. The jungle behind him was alive 
with Bambala. The main force had attacked 
his safari from the rear, overwhelming over 
half the bearers before he could bring his 



SWORD OF GIMSHA1 



gaos into play, stampeding the rest . into 
this second ambush. He knew he wouldn't 
have a chance against the jungle-wise blacks 
if he turned on into the underbrush. The 
trail ahead offered the only avenue of flight. 

He had seen in the first moments of 
battle that the warriors were gunshy. By 
fighting a fierce rexguard action, he and 
the two armed blacks had tried to buy time 
for the bearers to escape. But when their 
ammunition ran low, they, too, had been 
forced to run for it. 

Thinking of their nearly empty rifles, 
the guards' nerves had broken when they 
rounded the turn and saw their retreat cut 
off. The white man had gritted his teeth and 
plowed on. He had kept his wits enough 
to realize that a bold front might panic the 
small group of natives blocking the path. 

And if his bluff failed? 

Well, he would only be dying a few 
seconds sooner than the two fear-stricken 
guards. 

But his bluff didn't fail. Like jackals 
charged by a lion f the Bambala suddenly 
took to their heels. In a trampling rush, 
they headed into the underbrush, leaving 
the path clear. 

Sheena stood frozen on the limb above 
the' trail. She was as startled by that thunder- 
ing firestick as the natives, but she was even 
more stunned by the fact that the firestick's 
master was white-skinned. She didn't fear 
him. After all, he had saved her life. His 
reckless charge had turned the Bambala 
spears away from her in the nick of 
time. ' 

It didn't occur to her that he could be 
anything but a friend and ally. She judged 
men by the only.rulestick she knew, the 
ways of the animal world. Among the jungle 
creatures, like ran with like, instinctively 
sharing the same hatreds, hungers, and 
habits. 

Early in life, Sheena reluctantly had 
concluded that she was a creature alone, 
doomed to spend her days without ever 
knowing the company of others like herself. 

And now suddenly, unbelievably, she was 
seeing one of her own people — a male of 
her own kind! 

That he was a male, she had no doubt. 
His square-jawed face, his broad shoulders, 
deep chest and lean hips, his deep voice 



and wild, fierce manner of fighting, all 
bespoke his maleness. 

He braked to a stop almost directly be- 
neath her, and swung about, hands busy 
with the firestick. The thing that had 
stopped the white man was the hideous 
upthrust of Bambala cries on the trail be- 
hind him. As he turned, fumbling in haste 
to jam the last of his cartridges into the 
rifle, he saw black warriors pouring around 
the turn and washing out of the jungle on 
both sides of the two . guards who had 
lagged behind him. 

He jerked the rifle up, slammed five 
deliberate shots into the swarming mass. But 
a score of marksmen couldn't have saved 
the two men. The Bambala were on them 
like lusting beasts, literally tearing the" 
guards to pieces with their hands. 

As the clawing, screaming mass closed 
over the two, the white man's finger auto- 
matically kept working the trigger. But the 
five shells had been his last and the ham- 
mer snapped futilely against an empty 
chamber. When he finally realized what he 
was doing, his^ right hand snaked for his 
pistol, his clean-cut face gone white with 
anger under his deep tan. 

Then with the pistol hatf out of its 
holster, he came to his senses, realizing the" 
uselessness of trying to challenge that over- 
whelming force. He spun abruptly, and 
still gripping the empty rifle, went pound- 
ing down the trail. 

His action broke the spell which had 
held Sheena motionless. She had seen 
him feed five glittering metal tubes into 
the firestick, had heard it spit thunder five 
times and then emit only empty clicks. The 
five ejected cartridges lay on the trail where 
he had stood. Her quick mind fitted these 
facts together and suddenly she realized the 
firestick's magic was used up. 

The Bambala, already staffing the pursuit, 
soon would also realize the gun's magic 
was exhausted. And once the caution en- 
gendered by their fear of that gun was 
gone, they would make short work of the 
white man. 

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Sheena aloud. "I 
can't let them get him!" 

With flying fingers, she dropped the 
arrow she held back into the quiver, secured 
the bow on her back. Then with the sure 



10 



JUXGLE STORIES 



Agility of one of the tree people themselves, 
She started through the middle branches. 

It was through this trick of tree travel 
hat she had so many times mystified the 
3ambala, apparently vanishing into thin 
^ir just when they thought they had her 
homered. As a lonesome child, she had 
begun imitating the monkeys and apes as 
strictly a matter of play, and through endless 
practice gradually she had become breath- 
takingly expert at aerial acrobatics. 

In pursuing the white man, Sheena 
veered off to the left through the jungle, 
remembering that the trail made a leisurely 
arc. Despite his considerable lead on her, 
she would be able to intercept him by mak- 
ing the shortcut. 

When she reached her destination, she 
saw him a hundred yards away, coming 
fast towards her. The Bambala weren't in 
sight yet, but the clearness with which their 
chilling cries could be heard told that they 
weren't far behind. 

Sheena gripped a dangling length of 
liana, balanced to swing down onto the 
trail. And then, with the actual moment 
of meeting this strange male at hand, an 
overpowering shyness gripped the jungle 
girl. She became aware of the rapid pound 
of her heart, the swift rise and fail of her 
breast. And in her legs and the pit of her 
stomach, she had an odd, quaky feeling. 

She hesitated, bewildered by these new 
and utterly unexpected sensations. Then 
angrily, she told herself, "You fool, don't 
cling in this tree like a frightened lizard 
while death races up on that brave man." 

And with that, she leaped clear of the 
limb, went swinging down onto the trail. 
Just before her feet touched the ground, she 
turned loose of the vine and hit running. 

As the man saw a figure hurtle out of 
the tree, he came to a sliding stop, tearing 
his pistol from its holster. His eyes flew 
wide as Sheena hit the trail, took three long 
ruouing steps and halted, facing him. His 
gun arm seemed to wilt, slowly dropping 
back to his side. 

"Good lord!" he said quite audibly. "A 
white girl!" 

Sheena heard his startled exclamation, 
and though she didn't understand the words, 
the sound of his voice was pleasant to her. 
She saw too that her appearance had greatly 



confused and upset him. She couldn't know 
■that in addition to his shock at finding a 
white girl in the midst of nowhere, he was 
suddenly frantic with the thought that the 
responsibility for her life was being placed 
in his hands when he couldn't hope to take 
care of himself. 

His face was tragic as he stared at her 
fresh, young beauty. In his mental turmoil, 
details such as her unusual dress or the 
odd manner in which sha had appeared 
didn't immediately make an impression on 
him. His mind was too filled with the horror 
of the Bambala attack for him to think 
logically. She was the most beautiful girl 
he had ever seen and it sickened him to 
realize he was helpless to protect her from 
the murderous blacks. 

Then the girl was beckoning to him, dire 
urgency in her gestures. He dropped the 
pistol back into his holster. He saw by her 
manner that she was thoroughly aware of 
the pursuing blacks, but she didn't show 
the least sign of fear. He tried to frame 
what he should say to her, wondering 
whether to tell her right out how scant were 
their chances or whether to lull her with a 
false sense of security. 

But before he could speak, she tan for- 
ward impatiently and caught him by the 
hand. For the merest instant, her blue eyes 
stared directly into his gray ones, seeming 
in their electric intensity to search deep 
within him. She turned then, and gripping 
his hand with surprising strength, tugged 
him into a run. 

She kept a step ahead of him and he 
could no longer escape seeing the bow and 
quiver of arrows tied across her shoulders. 
He frowned, his mind struggling sluggishly 
with the fact that- the bow was polished by 
long usage, the primitive doeskin quiver 
worn with much handling. His glance went 
to the long knife riding the curve of her 
hip, noted that the ivory handle was shaped 
for a woman's grip instead of a black 
warrior's broad, thick fingers. 

And abruptly, a host of disturbing details 
about her began to drop into place. He felt 
again the strength of her grip, watched 
the supple play of firm muscles beneath 
her velvety skin, saw the golden tan which 
covered her body. He noticed her leopard 
skin clothing, which though worked to a 



SWORD OF GIMSHAl 



beautiful softness, was yet crudely cut and 
sewn. Her feet were bare and she wore not 
■ a single ornament. 

From the first few steps he took in follow- 
ing her, he could sense she wasn't leading 
him iff blind flight. There was a confidence 
in her movements that assured him she had 
a definite plan figured out. This wasn't 
what he had expected at all. Instead of 
being a frightened woman seeking protec- 
tion, she had taken calm command of their 
escape. 

She led him some fifty yards down the 
elephant track and then swerved to the 
right into what appeared to the white man 
an impenetrable wall of vegetation. But 
she wriggled with sure speed through the 
vine-choked bush, twisting and turning right 
and left as if by instinct to find clearance. 
Twenty paces off the main trail he already 
had lost all sense of direction. 

He abruptly realized the going was easier 
and found that she had brought them to a 
tiny, winding game path. She turned loose 
of his hand- and began to sprint along the 
narrow way like a running doe. 

BRANCHES slashed at his face, caught 
at his rifle as he tried to keep up with 
her. Bushes gripped his legs, roots snared 
his booted feet. He felt like a blind bull 
threshing through the jungle, growing angry 
with himself as he saw how easily she 
threaded through the undergrowth ahead 
of him. 

He strained to the outermost limits of his 
strength to stay up with her. Sweat poured 
from him in a drenching flood. His legs 
grew unsteady and his straining lungs ached 
with effort. And to add to his humiliation in 
being unable to match the girl, he finally 
stumbled over the roots of a baobab tree 
and fell sprawling full length in the path. 

With the breath knocked out of him, he 
was too weak for a moment even to get to 
hi$ knees again. When he raised his head, 
he saw the blonde girl had turned back 
and was staring at him, a questioning look 
on her face, 

"I'm all right," he growled sheepishly. 
"Blasted, clumsy boots are hard to run in." 

She cocked her head at his words, but 
didn't say anything. He realized she hadn't 
spoken a single time, and suddenly wonder- 



ed why. He heaved to his feet and managed 
a grin. He didn't want her to think him 
ungrateful. 

His weak grin immediately brought an 
answering smde from her. She gestured to 
him to get started, and as if to reinforce 
her warning that he must keep running, the 
savage howls of their pursuers rose along 
their backtrail. He saw how swiftly the 
sound of the pack erased her smile and 
knew the Bambala were dangerously close. 

His own features sobered. "Go on," he 
said, motioning her ahead. "You mustn't 
lag back because I'm so damnably slow. By 
yourself you can outrun them for sure. 
Forget about me and let me make out for 
myself." 

Sheena studied him thoughtfully, puzzling 
out his meaning. Then setting her lips firm- 
ly, she marched forward and caught him 
by the arm. It was obvious she had no 
intention of leaving him. 

"Ohhh," he said despairingly, "all right, 
I'll go. You'd sta.nd here until they ran 
over us. But you're being plain foolish." 

She started off again, this-timc adjusting 
her pace to his ability to stay up with her. 
It angered him to realize this, to appear 
a flabby weakling in her eyes, and he drove 
himself unmercifully in an effort to crowd 
her, but always she kept the same distance 
ahead of him, seeming to float effortlessly 
along the difficult path. 

He did his best, but it wasn't good 
enough. The measure of his inadequacy 
was the growing speed with which the ■ 
Bambala began, to overtake them. But lack- 
ing Sheena's animal-keen hearing, he didn't 
realize how desperately close a handful of 
the swifter blacks had come behind them. 

Sheena knew that these warriors, the best 
runners of the tribe, had long since out- 
distanced the pack. Only the confused 
winding of the path concealed them from 
view; otherwise, they would have been in 
easy arrow range. 

■ She had doubled back onto the trail she 
had followed in first entering the Bambala 
area, hoping that once she crossed the 
vaguely defined border between her lands 
and theirs that they would abandon the 
chase. But she had failed to take into con- 
sideration the whke man's difficulty in fol- 
lowing her through the bush. 



JUNGLE STORIES 



Because of his slowness, the blacks had 
cut away theic lead. The Bambala could 
tell from the white man's spoor that he 
was staggering with exhaustion. With' their 
prey almost in their grasp, the frenzy of the 
chase submerged their hazy fears of Sheena. 
They plunged across the border without 
hesitation, confident they could make a 
quick and easy kill and get back to their 
own lands before any harm could come 
to them. 

When the warriors failed lo turn back, 
a sudden chill touched Sheena's heart. The 
man was doomed. Despite all she could do, 
this black-haired, fair-skinned male of her 
own kind would be slain. 

It would still be an easy matter for her 
to get away from the Bambala. But all her 
jungle cunning was useless to help this man. 
She heard him reel and clutch at a tree for 
support. 

She stopped, turned back. His head was 
dropped forward on his chest, his face 
contorted with the struggle to breathe. He 
sagged against the tree for a moment, 
looking as though his legs were going to 
give under him. Then through the wetness 
of his shirt she saw his back and shoulder 
muscles tense and he shoved himself away 
from the tree, came weaving toward her. 
She sensed the effort of will behind that 
action. 

Her blue eyes were dark with the decision 
she made. She put out her arms and halted 
him. He swayed under the suddenness of 
her grip. 

Then slowly she stepped away from him, 
staring bleakly along the way the Bambala 
would come. He wheeled about, watching 
her as she reached for her bow. 

Abruptly, understanding came to him. 
This strange, magnificent girl, rather than 
abandon him to his fate, was preparing to 
face their pursuers with no other weapon 
than her primitive bow. 

The hoarse protest that burst from his 
lips was drowned by a lion's ear-splitting 
roar. Before his amazed eyes, a huge, black- 
maned lion burst from a stand of shoulder- 
high grass to crouch facing them in the 
path. The beast was a giant of his kind, a 
stcel-thewcd male in his very prime, his 
narrowed, yellow eyes blazing with dead- 
Ifncss 



For the merest fraction of time, the white 
man was shocked into immobility. It was 
as though a searing electric current stabbed 
into him from die cat's yellow eyes. Then 
with a wild, warning yell to the girl, his 
right hand dove for his pistol. 



"DOB knew as he went for the gun how 
-*-* small a chance he had of stopping the 
lion. But his instinct was to protect the girl, 
and if nothing else, the shots would draw 
the brute's charge to him. 

Suddenly, bewilderingly, then, the blonde 
girl plunged at him, fought his hand away 
from the pistol. A part of his mind dazedly 
registered the fact that she was screaming 
at him in the Abama tongue, not English. 
He understood the words easily for he had 
just come from a long stay with the 
Nubutus, blood cousins of the Abamas, 
who lived a month's trek to the west. 

"No, no!" she said. "Don't harm Sabor! 
He's my friend! I can control him." 

He thought cither he had gone crazy or 
he was dreaming the granddaddy of all 
nightmares. Over the girl's shoulder ne 
could see the cat slink forward in slow, 
crouching steps, the unblinking eyes riveted 
on his face. The realization came to him that 
the lion was making no effort to charge 
the easy target made by the girl's back, but 
was holding back, waiting with coiled 
muscles for her to move out of the way. 

He was the one the Hon was after, not 
the girl! 

The girl had wrestled him back against 
a tree. It was suddenly all too much for the 
confused, bone-weary man. He quit strug- 
gling for the gun, sagged back against the 
rough bark. At that moment, he no longer 
cared whether he lived or died. 

As soon as he relaxed, the girl spun 
around to face die blackmaned cat. Keeping 
between tfie man and the slowly approach- 
ing beast, she began to talk in a calm, firm 
voice. The lion's ears shifted lo catch her 
words, and after an interval, his glance 
flicked from the man to the girl. 

When she had the cat looking at her, 
Sheena went up to him. The lion allowed 
her to stroke him, the decp-throated snarls 
changing in tone, becoming complaining 



SWORD OF GIMSHAI 



rather thin chilling. She scratched him be- 
hind an ear, slid her arm about his neck, 
and with gradual pressure, turned the giant 
cat completely about on the trail 

Still keeping her arm around the brute's 
shaggy mane, she began to walk, leading 
him away from the man. Before she had 
gone five steps, the first of the pursuing 
blacks burst into view on the trail. The 
warrior rounded a turn at a terrific pace. 

The native had abandoned his spear to 
achieve greater speed, feeling his sword 
and bow were weapons enough to handle 
the two whites. He leaned forward as he 
ran, arms pumping, eyes glued to the trail. 

Sheeru stabbed a hand toward the war- 
rior, pygmy words spilling from her lips. 
The huge lion beside her stiffened, his great 
head lifting. Abruptly, the cat's tail lashed, 
a tremendous roar smashed from his throat. 
Then with the blinding speed of a thunder- 
bolt, he shot down the trail toward the 
warrior. 

The black's head jerked up as he heard 
the roar. His eyes seemed to triple in size, 
his face blanching a dirty gray. With a wild 
flailing of arms and legs, he managed to 
whip around and start back toward the 
turn. 

But at that moment, five more warriors 
running in single file sprinted into view. 
The fleeing black hammered into the line 
of his fellows, screaming, "Simba, Simba!" 
and clawing for his sword. 

His cry of "Lion, Lion!" was no warning. 
All he succeeded in doing wai to send the 
first three men sprawling over him in a con- 
fused tangle. The last two blacks did 
manage to keep their feet, skidding to a 
stop just in time to make perfect targets 
for the charging lion. 

Sheena's savage pet shot completely over 
the fallen men and landed with demoniac 
fury on the rear two warriors. Sabor's tear- 
ing claws and fangs had ripped the blacks 
to shreds before he had borne them to the 
ground. 

The great lion wasted no time on his 
first victims. Barely had his feet touched 
earth when he reared about and dove direct- 
ly on the fallen mass of men. He seemed 
to understand that he must strike before 
the warriors could bring their weapons 
into pi ay. 



The watching white man was never to 
forget that awful scene. The natives screams 
cut through the bloodcurdling snarls of the 
maddened cat. The black- maned brute was 
everywhere at once, leaping, twisting, spin- 
ning, striking down the terrorized warriors 
before they could flee. 

And suddenly it was over and the blood- 
stained lion stood among the torn things 
that had once been men and cried his kingly 
rage to the jungle. His one loyalty was to 
Shcena. Baring his fangs and tossing his 
head, he roared defiance at all those who 
would harm her. 

The white man rubbed a hand across his 
eyes, muttered, ". . . unbelievable . . . that 
devil obeying her . . . fighting for her. . . ." 
But it was only the first of the astonishing 
experiences in store for him. 

The girl's whole being had changed. Her 
eyes bhzed with excitement. She was no 
longer a person resigned to death. She ran 
up to him, momentarily forgetting that he 
had spoken in a strange tongue. 

"Come!" she said exultantly in Abama. 
"They'll never catch us nowl Tamba is 
bound to be close by. Nothing but jealousy 
would have made Sabor follow me this 
distance. He was afraid Tamba would get 
me off to himself and he'd go to any lengths 
to keep that from happening. " 

"I don't know who or what you're talk- 
ing about," he answered hoarsely, "but 1 
darn sure don't want to stay here with that 
Hod." 

SHE was pulling him down the path then, 
her darting eyes searching tht jungle 
about' them. It was a full-minute before she 
realized that, except for a few strange 
words like "darn," he had replied to her 
in the Abama language. She looked at him, 
a smile like a burst -of sunlight curving her 
full lips. 

"You do speak as L do," she said happily. 
"My heart sank when first I heard you 
speak in a strange tongue, for I thought 
you were different from me. But we are 
the same — the same skin, the same language, 
the same blood.'' 

Uneasy wonder at the mystery of this 
strange jungle girl stirred the white man 
again. She had the beauty of a goddess, 
the ways of a wild feature. She was un- 



JUNGL& STORIES 



doubtedly white, but spoke Abama.as her 
native language and seemed to have no 
knowledge of her own race at all. 

And this Tamba she spoke of, who was 
he? Another lion? Or was he some hulking 
brute of a wild man. The thought of her 
belonging to some man hadn't occurred 
to him before. He found he was oddly 
disturbed. 

"Are you sure this Tamba person will 
welcome me?" he asked. 

"Tamba?" she said, surprised. "He won't 
mind." 

• The white man wet his lips. "Uh — is he 
your husband?" He had to ask it. 

She repeated the Abama word for hus- 
band under her breath as though she were 
unsure she had heard him aright. Then 
suddenly a peal of delighted laughter burst 
from her throat. 

"Oh, no," she said, her voice husky with 
laughter. "The sly old lazybones has 

E ractically moved in with me and thinks 
e owns me, but he's hardly the type for 
a husband." 

The white man nervously cleared his 
throat, his face grown more somber than 
ever. He failed to see. any humor in the 
situation. It was only further proof, he told 
himself, of how desperately little he really 
knew about women. 

He stared darkly at the ground, the trees, 
the leaf -obscured sky, anywhere so he 
wouldn't have to look into those dancing 
blue eyes. A damnable crime, he boiled 
silently. A young and beautiful girl like 
that. Looked like the picture of innocence, 
too. Another tragedy of environment, but 
probably it was far too late to do anything 
about it now. 

Her glad cry broke into his thoughts. 
"There he is! There's Tamba! I knew he 
wouldn't be far away." 

He looked grimly in the direction she 
pointed. For a moment, since he was pre- 
pared to see a man, his glance registered 
nothing but green shrubs with a huge, gray, 
rock-like mound vaguely visible behind 
them. 

Then the mound moved, shoved through 
the undergrowth with amazing speed and 
quiet toward the girl, and with astonished 
eyes he recognized a mammoth elephant. 

"That is Tamba?" he-sputtered. His face 



reddened as be "became 'twwe of her laugh- 
ing regard. 

"We must hurry," she said, grown sud- 
denly serious. "The Bambaia will be slowed 
down by the sight of these bodies and 
Sabor may pick off another one or two, but 
so long as they have a spoor to follow, 
they'll stay after us." 

The elephant had stopped a few paces 
away and was regarding her with first one 
keen little eye and then tiie other. 

"Here Tamba, lift . him up," she com- 
manded. The white man retreated a step. 
"He won't hurt you," she said in an aside. 
She reached out and patted the man on the 
shoulder for the elephant's benefit. , 

"I don't feel like I can move," he said 
tensely, "but if it is all the same to yotv 
I'll take walking rather than this." He took 
another backward step away from the forest 
giant. 

She beamed for the elephant, and said 
in a whisper, "Don't be f-oolish. He's as 
gentle as a baby rabbit." 

"Well, why are you whispering then?" 
the man demanded. 

"I don't want him to get the idea you're 
afraid," she declared. "He might not respect 
you." 

"Oh, great!" he said. But under her 
serious, half-pleading look, he found him- 
self standing stiffly while the gray giant 
approached, suspiciously investigated him 
with his trunk. The man thought of a burly 
cop efficiently frisking a shady character. 
Maybe it was imagination, but he also 
thought Tamba gave the giil a rather ag- 
grieved look. 

"Hurry up, Tamba," snapped Sheena. 
"I'll explain everything to you later." 

THE next thing the man knew, the ele- 
phant's trunk had snapped gently but 
securely about his waist and he was being 
swept high in the air. By the time he had 
scrambled to a safe perch on Tamba's back, 
Sheena was settling herself on the broad 
head, slipping her long, shapely legs down 
behind the beast's ears. 

She drummed her heels, spoke a quick 
command, and the elephant turned and 
went at a surprisingly fast gait down the 
path. The girl sat the forest giant as though 
she were glued on, but the man jounced, 



SWORD OF GIMSHAt 



slipped »nd slid all over the swaying back. 
His first experience with the ancient art of 
elephant riding couldn't be termed a success- 
ful one. , , 
For what seemed an eternity, he struggled 
to stay on that lurching back. He was too 
busy trying with only two hands to hold 
onto his rifle, clutch the rough, loose skin 
and block out the branches that lashed at 
him with diabolical aim to pay any attention 
to where they were headed. 

When Tamba did stop, the white man s 
head was whirling diz2ify in one direction, 
his stomach in another. 

The soft, little clucking sounds of sym- 
pathy Sheena made as she helped him climb 
down touched his masculine pride. "Isn't 
this a fine thing," he told himself- angrily. 
"Here I am acting like a maiden great- 
aunt, and she's as fresh and strong as when 
this nightmare started." 

She solicitously maneuvered him to where 
he could sit down and rest his back against 
the tree trunk. He felt almost as bad as he 
had once when he was sea-sick and he sat 
with his eyes closed until she suddenly was 
holding a gourd of cold water to his- lips. 
He took a few cautious sips of the water 
and used the rest to bathe his face. 

He immediately felt better. He lifted 
his head to thank her. A smalt black face 
with brilliant, glittering black eyes hung 
upside down in the air not four inches from 
his own startled features, 

"Uuugh!" he exclaimed and slammed 
himself back against the tree. 

"Oh, I'm sorry," apologized Sheena. "It's 
only Chim. He wanted to get a good look at 
you." 

And shame-facedly, the man realized the 
strange apparition was nothing more than 
a small ape hanging from a limb by his 
feet. 

He looked about at the pleasant, tree- 
shaded clearing, the tree-house high above 
him, the cool, clear deeps of the river. 

"You live here?" he asked unbelieving- 
ly. "And all alone?" 

She nodded enthusiastically. 

Chim, apparently tiring at long last of 
his upside down position, loosened his grip 
on the limb, turned a quick flip and landed 
in a squatting position in the white man's 
Up. 



"I can't imagine how you manage," he 
said, trying not to notice the monkey's 
stern, unblinking scrutiny. "How long have 
you lived this way?" 

"Why, always," she said matter-of-factly. 
"Doesn't everyone live about the same way? 
Of course, I do live in a tree-house, whereas 
most natives build on the ground. There's 
plenty of game and plenty of water here. 
I don't think anyone could find a more 
perfect home." 

HE THOUGHT of the great crowded 
cities of America, the unnumbered 
kinds of stores, services and establishments, 
the huge manufacturing plants, the giant 
utilities, the layers upon layers of governing 
bodies. And this slim, wide-eyed, blonde girl 
asked him if everyone didn't live about the 
same way she did. An existence such as hers, 
let alone a happy, healthful existence, had 
become- inconceivable to the white races of 
the world. 

"Surely, you remember your family," he 
ventured. 

A shadow seemed, to pass across her face. 
"No," she said. "They died while I was 
a baby. The Abamas found mc, but they 
can tell me nothing except that my parents 
were of the Tribe of God." The expression 
was one used by natives to describe white 
missionaries. 

Grown suddenly moody, she bit her full 
lower lip, stared off across the river. A 
wave of sympathy swept over the man. But 
the girl's mood swiftly passed. She turned 
back to him, as bright and vivacious as 
ever. 

"You haven't told me how you ace 
called," she said shyly. 

"Great Scot," he exclaimed in English, 
"I really am the boy for manners." 

She blinked at him. "That is your name?" 

He laughed. "No, no. My name is Bob 
Reilly." 

She pronounced it after him cautiously, 
like a child learning a new phrase. Then 
as if she had made a startling discovery, 
she asked, "Why do you have "two 
names?" 

Without thinking, he returned, "Why 
not? Most people have three." 

She looked troubled. "I have only one — 
Sheena," she confessed in a disturbed 



16 JVNGhR 

whisper. "I gees it is • b*^ thing to hive 
only one name?" 

It dawned on him that she wasn't joking. 
In het first tentative' brush with civilization, 
he wis unwittingly making her feel certain 
"lacks" in herself. He sought to reassure 
hex. 

"The main, reason for a name is so you'll 
be known and remembered," he said. "As 
lovely a girl as you doesn't need more than 
one name. There would never he a chance of 
your being confused with any other girl. 
No matter how many Sheena's there were 
in the world, once a man saw you, the name 
Sheena would never mean anyone but you." 
She gravely considered his words. It was 
the first male compliment she had ever re- 
ceived. It hadn't occurred to her that how 
she looked might have any effect on a man. 
She pursed her lips, trying to figure out 
his- exact meaning. 

"You mean," she picked her words slow- 
ly, "that you find it good to look upon 
me?" 

Bob Reilly went through a considerable 
process of throat clearing. He should have 
remembered that women were quite unable 
to view any matter in the abstract. They 
dealt with everything on a purely personal 
basis. He noticed how she leaned her head 
forward and frowningly looked herself over 
as though wondering what there could 
be that was particularly pleasine about 
her. 

"Anyone would say that you are unusually 
beautiful," he said with enforced calm. 
There, he had avoided the personal angle 
quite neatly. 

She smiled. You could see the pleasure 
grow in her. "I — I feel quite different," 
she said, "from your saying that." 

He found himself watching her appre- 
hensively, and it was with a distinct sense 
of relief that he saw -her turn away, walk 
to the river bank and lean over to study 
her reflection. 

The mAikcy still squatted in his lap. He 
hadn't thought one of the little varmints 
could. stay quiet so long. Maybe the frozen- 
faced devil was trying to hypnotize him. 
Bob stole a glance at Sheena, and certain 
she wasn't watching him, he made the most 
vicious, menacing face he could at the 
monkey. 



sr&mEs 

>Chim 'registered" absolutely *> reattjoft: 
He didn't turn a hair. 

Bob lifted his hands to bis cars and 
waggled^ them in the universally insulting 
gesture of brattish children. Chim's hard 
little eyes didn't so much as w*ver. Bob 
bared his teeth, made ugly croaking sounds 
deep in his throat. 

Then with insulting slowness, the monkey 
raised his own hands to his ears, twisted 
his black little features Into -a leering 
grimace, .and mimicked the man's gestures 
with a. brazen exactitude. When he had 
finished, Chim made a soond suspiciously 
like a horse laugh, leaped to the ground 
and went skittering off acres* the clearing 
in high good humor. 



BOB leaned back against the tree and 
closed his eyes. Too moch had hap- 
pened to him in too short a time. "If I 
don't pull myself together," he told himself, 
"I'll be going off my trolley permanently." 
His conscience was hurting him because he 
was deliberately pushing away thoughts of 
the ambush and of what his next move 
must be. But he realized he was too con- 
fused and beat up to plan logically. The 
son of one of America's wealthiest men, 
Bob at twenty-three, with a hat full of 
scholastic and sports honors and an eager- 
ness to get out and prove himself in the 
world, had found himself faced with even 
more sterile, needless years of study. His 
stepmother, as a means of getting him out 
from underfoot, had convinced his father 
it would be well to send him abroad for 
advanced schooling. 

And the long submissive Bob finally re- 
belled. In an ugly scene with his angry,- 
desk-pounding father and coldly scornful 
stepmother, he steadfastly asserted his in- 
dependence, and ended by stalking out of 
the house in a white fury. 

Imbued with a desire to get away from 
everything representing his old life, he 
recalled an expedition being organized by 
one of his old professors to record and 
study native African languages. He had 
demonstrated an unusual aptitude for 
languages in school, and that talent along 
with his general record of scholarship and 



SWORD OF GIMSBAI 



the publicity value of his name, made it an 
easy task for him to get on the expedition 
as an assistant. 

After three months in the bush, the 
elderly professor's health broke down and 
he had to return home, leaving Bob in 
charge. If anything, the wort: went better 
under the younger man's direction, and he 
began to feel he was going to show his 
father that be wasn't the only Reilly who 
could pull his own weight under difficult 
circumstances. 

But bis desire to include the more 
primitive and little-known tribes in his 
study drew him into the trackless depths of 
unexplored territory. He had known there 
was danger and' had taken what he con- 
sidered were adequate steps to protect his 
safari. But in his inexperience, he failed 
to realize the vast difference between the 
fighting qualities of his long subjugated 
coastal blacks and those of the fierce, 
marauding tribesmen of the interior. 

His guards and bearers were boastful 
enough about their fighting prowess until 
trouble came. Then they fled in panic, aban- 
doning both packs and weapons. And so 
Bob's attempt to stand on his own feet, to do 
something striking enough to impress his 
father, ended in utter disaster. 

"I've botched the whole thing," he told 
himself. "I'm a failure. No expedition will 
give me a chance after this, and now my 
parents will expect roe to come crawling 
back to them. And I'll hare the Wood of 
those murdered men oq my hands the rest 
of my life." 

It was these torturing thoughts that Bob 
tried to push away from Him as he' sat in" 
Sheena's clearing. At last his very weariness 
came to his rescue. His chin dropped for* 
ward on his chest and he slid away into* 
deep sleep. 

Night had fallen when Bob awakened. A 
great silver moon lay low in the sky. The. 
moonlight washed the riveaf with beauty, 
painted shifting patterns on the ground 
beneath the tall freest The weird night 
chorus of the jungle rose all about the 
clearing. 

Bob sat up in alarm, unable at first to 
identify his surroundings. A fire,, burned 
down to red coals, glowed' In thecenfe* 
of the clearing. He smelled the 'Mrotf'$c$bk 



of a joint of meat grilling slowly over the 
fire. 

"Where the devil am I?" he muttered, 
hurriedly reassuring himself that his pistol 
was still in its holster. 

Nothing moved in the clearing. It seemed 
utterly deserted. Then his glance caught on 
a dark bulk hunched not thirty feet from 
him in the shadow of a tree trunk. He 
caught his breath and waited. The dark 
bulk moved, and abruptly, two slanting 
yellow eyes burned wickedly at him from 
the shadows. 

A huge cat lay crouched there, watching 
him! 

That sight swept the cobwebs from his 
brain. He remembered Sheena and her 
savage pet. If Sheena had wandered off and 
left him alone with that beast, he wouldn't 
have a chance. He felt cold sweat trickling 
down his face. 

What should he do? If he called out or 
moved, that devil might charge. He recalled 
the stories he had read about intrepid 
hunters playing dead when through some 
accident they had found themselves at the 
mercy of a lion. 

But even as he thought of these story- 
book heroes, he saw Sabor flatten himself 
on the ground, creep forward a good two- 
feet on his belly. He didn't feel the- least 
bit intrepid at that moment. 

^'SHEENA!" he called loudly. 
"SHEENA!" ■ 

"Here I am." Her voice came from the 
direction of the river. "What's wrong?" 

"Get this blasted lion of yours away 
from me! He's ready to spring." 

■ ."Oh, is that all," she said, obviously re- 
lieved. "Don't worry about Sabor. He 
wouldn't hurt you now for the world." 

AT THE sound of his mistress' voice, Sa- 
bor stood up and looked toward the 
river. The instant those yellow eyes were off 
of him, Bob was up and around behind the 
tree against which he had been leaning. 
Once out of sight of the cat, he streaked 

■ for another tree, further away. When he 
reached it safely, he began to work his 
way toward the water with all the care of 
an infantryman under heavy fire. 

Jtfe reached the bank muttering. A hasty 
'glance ovtf the moon-swept water failed 



18 JUNGLE 

to reveal any sign of her. He looked over 
his shoulder. Sabor was moving toward him 
with slow steps, pausing every few feet to 
sniff the night air. 

Bob turned back toward the river just 
in time to see Shcena's head break the sur- 
face of the water. Of all the cold-blooded 
women, he thought. She amuses herself by 
swimming around under water while her 
man-killing pet stalks me. 

She saw him in the moonlight. "I was be- 
ginning lo think you never would wake up," 
she said. "Come on in the water. It feels 
wonderful. The meal won't be ready for 
awhile yet anyway." 

With Sabor stalking him, there was no 
room in Bob's mind for the proprieties 
In nothing flat, he had tugged off his boots 
and stripped to his shorts. Cats, even big 
cats, didn't like water. He would be safe in 
the river. 

Bob took two running steps and drove out 
over the water in a racing dive. He drove 
out toward mid-stream with a smooth 
powerful stroke, leaving a frothing wake. 

"How swiftly you go," she exclaimed as 
he swam up to her. "Like the finny ones 
themselves! Oh, if only I could swim that 
way! I've studied every animal I could, try- 
ing to learn better ways of swimming, but 
none of them can match you." 

He had meant to lecture to her about 
Sabor. But he found himself saying almost 
moderately, "You've got to do something 
about that lion. Didn't you realize he was 
creeping up to kill mc?" 

"Faugh," she said mildly. "On the trail 
— yes — he would have killed you. But now 
he understands you're my friend. He's been 
lying there looking at you since long before 
dark. After all, he never saw a white man 
before and he's kind of interested." 

"I tell you he even came creeping after 
mc down to the river," insisted Bob. "I 
don't like him and lie doesn't like mc." 

Sheena laughed. On the shore the black- 
mancd lion coughed irritably. Both the man 
and the girl glanced toward him. He was 
standing with his head high, staring out at 
them over the water. 

"Well, Sabor, probably thinks we would 
be better off without you," she confessed, 
"but I told him you belonged to mc and 
to leave you alone. And he'll do it!" 



STORIES 

Bob's mind had stopped dead on the 
words, "I told him you belonged to me." 
He was suddenly puzzled. What was going 
on in the head or this wild, young, pagan 
girl? 

The next thing he knew she was swim- 
ming so close to him that he could feel the 
touch of her bare leg against his as she 
treaded water. 

"I've been thinking about what you said 
to me this afternoon," she suddenly de- 
clared. 

Her eyes were disturbingly large and 
luminous in the moonlight. 

"What was that?" he asked. 

"About you finding me good to look 
upon," she explained. "That made me very 
happy. I couldn't really understand what 
you meant at first," Sheena went on. "I've 
never been around any men of my own kind, 
so it hadn't occurred to me that — well — 
that they might like mc or not like me." 

"Yes. Quite so," Bob said uneasily. 
"Don't you think you should look at the 
food?" 

Sheena's face was instantly sympathetic. 
"Oh, I forgot," she said. "I'm not used 
to having visitors. You must be starv- 
ing." 

Before he could move, she had thrust 
her feet against the river floor and stood 
up. He realized for the first time that she 
swam unclad and her suddenly revealed 
beauty made his breath catch- in his throat. 
Her bare body was a picture of Aphrodite 
rising from the sea. 

Sheena waded to the bank. With a child's 
innocence, she stood there smoothing the 
glistening drops of water from her body 
with her hands. After leisurely donning her 
halter and shorts, she walked across to the 
fire, inspected the joint of meat cooking over 
the crossbars. 

When Sheena called him to eat, Bob 
dressed hurriedly in the shadow of a tree 
and joined her near the fire. The food was 
delicious and he ate huge quantities of it, 
but actually he hardly tasted it or knew 
what he was eating. 

Never in his life had Bob felt such con- 
flicting emotions about anyone as he did 
about the jungle girl. He kept stealing 
glances at Sheena as she moved back and 
forth from the fire, waiting on him, , or 



SWORD OF GIMSBAI 



19 



while she sat cross-legged beside him, eating 
with unconcealed enjoyment. She shone 
with happiness. 

And suddenly he realized that he was 
happy too. By all rights, he felt he should 
have been wallowing in the depths of 
despair. He was lost in the depths of an 
untracked jungle, hunted by murderous 
tribesmen, left without any adequate means 
of protecting himself. Yet never had he 
felt so vibrantly alive as he did now. 



THE raucous argument of parrots on a 
limb above him awakened Bob in the 
morning. He had slept near the fire, using a 
zebra skin thrown over freshly-cut grasses 
for his bed. The moment he sat up, his eyes 
went to the tree house high above him. 

He realized that his first thoughts were of 
the blonde-haired girl. "This won't do," he 
warned himself. "I'm supposed to be a 
serious, intelligent adult." He got up and 
began to pace the clearing, forcing every- 
thing out of his mind but his wrecked ex- 
pedition. He had to decide what to do. 

He could be a quitter, write off the ex- 
pedition as a total loss and concentrate on 
trying to get out of this scrape with his own 
skin whole. Under the circumstances, that 
didn't seem too illogical. 

But Bob kept remembering that a good 
part of the records of the expedition were in 
those packs abandoned by the bearers. The 
Bambala were certain to gather up the packs, 
cart them back to their village as loot. Until 
he knew those records were definitely de- 
stroyed, he felt bound to try to recover them. 

Then, even though the cowardice of his 
blacks was the real reason for the debacle, 
he considered it his duty to go to the help 
of any who had survived the attack. The 
Bainbala wouldn't have slaughtered them all. 
Once certain their victims were too terrorized 
to fight back, they would have begun taking 
prisoners. 

And after an hour of pacing and fretting, 
he made up his mind. He wouldn't be able 
to live with himself if he didn't make a 
sincere attempt to free the surviving bearers 
and retake the records he had so painstak- 
ingly gathered. Yet even as the resolve was 



formed, he felt himself doomed to failure. 

How could he, with a handful of pistol 
cartridges and an abysmal ignorance of the 
jungle, hope to strike any kind of a blow 
against the savage Bambala? 

Bob was surprised to see Sheena suddenly 
stride from the jungle. He had thought her 
still asleep in the tree house. She leaned het 
spear against a tree, walked over and stirred 
the fire to life. 

"I left early," she said. "I thought it wise 
to check on the Bambala." She knelt, placed 
four fresh sticks of wood in the flames. 

"The Bambala didn't turn back as I had 
hoped," she said abruptly. "They are search- 
ing for us now," 

SHE loosened a leather pouch belted 
about her slim waist, laid it on a clean 
rock beside the fire. Then, after selecting a 
long, pointed stick from a collection held 
in a large gourd, she reached in the pouch 
and drew out a freshly cleaned and dressed 
bird. She held it up for him to see before 
she spitted it on the stick for cooking. 

"I thought these birds might please you 
for the morning meal," she said. And so 
he would understand they were something 
special, she added, "I hunted for them 
quite awhile." 

The girl utterly baffled Bob. She seemed 
to have dismissed the black warriors from 
her mind. After learning those murderous 
devils were searching them out, how could 
' she calmly go hunting and then come back 
to enjoy a leisurely meal. 

"The birds look wonderful," he said 
without enthusiasm. "But frankly, Sheena, 
shouldn't we be getting out of here instead 
of thinking of eating?" 

"Leave?" she said, surprised. "This is 
my home!" 

"You can't fight off a whole tribe," he 
told her. 

Her eyes flashed. "I can cause them 
enough trouble to make them wish they 
hadn't come. I've done it before. 

"But they'll come back, Sheena,' he said 
gravely. "And they'll keep coming back 
until one day they'll catch you." 

She fitted the spitted birds onto the forked 
supports which held them over the fire. 
She stood up, brushed her hands The 
merest shadow crossed her face. 



20 JVNGhE 

"Deaft must come to every living crea- 
tive," declared the girl. "I will not be 
afraid when my time comes." She spoke 
with the fatalism of those to whom danger 
is a constant companion. 

"Is there a way, Sheena," he asked sud- 
denly, "for me to circle around these war- 
riors and reach their village. I'd guess that 
most of the able-bodied men are hunting 
for us. This might be my "best chance to 
slip into their village and try to free any 
of the bearers who were captured. If there 
are enough of them and they'll help me, 
maybe I can even recover my records." 

Sheena turned in alarm. Though she had 
talked calmly enough of death in regard to 
herself, she now exclaimed, "Are you trying 
to kill yourself? You must be mad to speak 
of such a thing!" 

He blinked at her, taken aback by her 
reaction. She paced rapidly back and forth 
in front of him. 

"I haven't the least desire to get any- 
where near that village," he admitted 
honestly, "but it is my duty to do it." 

"Duty? I do not know this word!" She 
was like an aroused leopard, lithe and quick, 
with a wildness in her eyes. "I will not have 
you put yourself in danger. I will not have 
it, you understand!" 

Bob scratched his head and frowned. He 
hadn't anticipated anything like this. 

"It's all right for you to play dangerous 
games- with the Bambala, but not me. Is 
that it?" 

She gave her long blonde hair a savage 
toss. "I am different," she snapped. "I am 
Sheena!" 

She readied him with quick steps, shook a 
finger in his face. "Put this notion from 
your head. You are not to go anywhere 
near that kraal of dangos." 

"You saved my life, Sheena," he answered 
gently, "and I'm deeply grateful, but I'm 
not a new pet who will meekly do your 
bidding. There are some things a man 
must do if he is to live with himself." 

And he tried to explain to her then why 
he had to make a stab at helping the bearers 
and recovering the work of many months. 

"You owe those men nothing," she told 
him with harsh, feminine logic. "They did 
not value their freedom enough to fight for 
it. As to this work you talk of, .1 do not 



STORIES 

understand about it too much, btitit can't 
be important enough to lose your life over." 

"Nevertheless, I must go," he said 
firmly. 

She was very dose to him. The changeful 
blue depths of her eyes softened, losing the 
storminess of a moment before. The warm, 
girl scent Qf her came up to Bob. 

He watched the curve of her full, red 
lips. Her teeth were small and fine and 
white. He had never known any woman 
who stirred him as she did. 

Suddenly the tight control he had exerted 
over himself snapped. Before he knew 
what he did, he reached his arms about 
her and pressed his mouth to hers. 

The startled girl's eyes flew wide. She 
stiffened as though either to fight or run. 
But she let him draw her into his embrace, 
made no attempt to take her mouth from 
his. 

Abruptly he released her, but he could 
not move away because she held him with 
the rigidness of her arms about his neck. 

"I'm sorry, Sheena," he mumbled. "I 
shouldn't have done. that. I — I didn't mean 
to do it." He was embarrassed and angry 
with himself. "I only meant to tell you that 
though I wish I never had to see another 
Bambala, I have to go to their village." 

Sheena slid her arms from his neck and 
stepped back. The strange, startled ex- 
pression was still on her face. Her right 
hand came up to touch her mouth. 

"Why did — what did you do«?" she 
faltered. 

Bob frowned, momentarily puzzled. Then 
he was more embarrassed than ever. Sheena 
had no idea what a kiss was. 

"I kissed you," he said. And then he 
didn't know what to say next. 

"But why?" she demanded. 

"Uli — well, I just couldn't help myself." 
His face reddened. "Among our people, 
when a man . . ." That didn't sound right. 
"It's a custom. It — it means — no, that's 
not what I want to say." He bumbled oa 
in a growing confusion of unfinished 
sentences. 

"You mean," Sheena asked, "that among 
people with white skin it is like when a 
native man rubs noses with a girl?" 

"Yes," he granted uncomfortably. He 
considered how swiftly feminine instinct 



SWORD OF GIMSHAI 



had taken her to the heart of the matter. 

"I have seen them," she said thoughtfully. 
She touched her lips with her fingers. "This 
is a strange thing, this 'kiss', very strange." 
Then slowly, she smiled and nodded her 
head. "But it is far better than the natives' 
custom. I think our people must be very 
wise. First, there was the firestick which 
kills at a distance, then the superior way 
of swimming, and now this matter." 

"Then you aren't angry with me?" 
ventured Bob. 

She contemplated him gravely. "No," she 
said softly. "I should like you to do it again, 
now when I wouldn't be so surprised." 

Bob swallowed heavily. "Not now," he 
declared. His breath came very fast. "No, 
not now." He might have proved himself a 
sorry kind of man by making a mess of his 
expedition, he told himself, but he'd be 
damned if he was sorry enough to take 
advantage of Sheena's innocence. She had 
saved his life. The least he could do was 
to behave himself. 

SHFENA sighed, tapped a forefinger 
against her teeth for a few moments. 

"Do not worry, Bob. If you must go 
through with this Bambala foolishness," 
she said in unexpected capitulation, "Sheena 
will make you a plan. You sit here and 
rest. Fretting is not good for you." 

He was relieved to know she wasn't going 
to continue her opposition, though he didn't 
take seriously her easy assurance that she 
would provide a plan. She was an unusual 
girl, but a foray such as he contemplated 
was rather out of a woman's line. He was 
amused by her swift shift from the role of 
a naive, young maiden to that of a wise 
elder mothering a child. 

But later, after they had eaten, when he 
still hadn't laid hold of the vaguest notion 
of how to carry through his project, she 
calmly and confidently told him 1 how the 
job could be done. 

She said, "This will work — if anything 
will. I know the BamBala, how they think. 
And fortunately for us, only women and 
old men will be in the kraal." 

Bob listened in amazement. Never in a 
thousand years would so unorthodox a 
scheme have occurred to him. But, by 
George, it might work. It was bold and 



dangerous, yet properly executed it could 
so stun and frighten the tribesmen that he 
would have time to free his bearers and 
gather up his records before a hand was 
raised against him. 

Then his face suddenly fell. Tamba was 
the keystone of the whole plan, which he 
realized on second thought meant that 
Sheena was counting herself in on the raid. 

"Oh, no," he cried. "You're taking no 
part in this. The plan won't do. I'm not 
risking your life on business that just con- 
cerns me." 

Sheena regarded the determined set of his 
jaw and smiled. 

"You're mistaken," she said mildly. "The 
"fight is entirely yours. I mean only to help 
you get ready for it and guide you to the 
village. If I order it, Tamba will do your 
bidding well enough to get you through." 

Bob subsided. "Well, that's different," 
he said. "I won't have you running any more 
risks on my account. Look at the trouble 
I've already caused you." 

Throughout the day, Bob kept worrying 
that they shouW leave the camp, but Sheena 
refused to be hurried. After several trips 
into the jungle to gather a strange assort- 
ment of bulbs, roots, and dank, yeasty 
growths, she had settled down to mixing a 
white, glue-like substance. 

"Chim and Sabor are keeping an eye on 
the Bambala," she told him. "They'll let 
us know when the dangos get too close." 

Bob didn't share her confidence in the 
two pets. And the fact that Chim would 
get bored about every two hours and return 
to camp to see what Sheena was doing 
didn't help his nerves. After the jungle 
girl had chased the grumbling ape back 
to his post for the third time, she made a 
further concession to ease Bob's tension. 

"I laid «"*>ugh false trails this morning 
to keep the Bambala busy until nightfall, 
unless they should get very lucky," she 
explained. "And scattered along each trail 
are unpleasant little surprises to discourage 
them from hurrying." 

She didn't go into detail about the sur- 
prises and he didn't ask her to, for her 
grim tone brought crowding into his mind, 
the variety of murderous traps he had seen 
black men use in hunting: camouflaged pits, 
drawn bows released when a vine in the 



JUNGLE STORIES 



path was touched, tiny, poisoned bamboo 
splinters set in the earth, snares that would 
jerk a grown bushbuck eight-feet in the air 
and break its neck, bent saplings that would 
hammer a lion into pulp. 

But the revelation of how she had oc- 
cupied the early morning shook him as badly 
as had the realization that Sabor, far more 
than a pet, was a deadly weapon she em- 
ployed against her enemies. 

When he looked at her now, he saw a 
young, mtld, soft-voiced girl, anxious to 
please, quick to laugh. He felt at ease 
with this girl. In truth, he felt pleasantly 
superior. Then abruptly, she would shatter 
this mould into which he had fitted her, 
reveal ing by some action that she was more 
a sister to a tawny, dangerous lioness than 
the conventional being he tried to believe 
her to be. 

How could he reconcile the shy, soft- 
mouthed girl he had held in his arms for a 
moment that morning with the Sheena 
who could meet and best the black warriors 
at their own savage game? 

It made him almost afraid of the girl. 
You couldn't guess what really went on in 
that head of hers Of predict how she would 
react in a given situation. How could be be 
sure she wouldn't turn on him, if he made 
a move that rubbed her the wrong way? 

Sheena was too busy to notice any change 
in him. Not until late afternoon did she 
plug up with 2 stopper of wadded leaves 
the last of five large gourds of the thick, 
whitish liquid. She glanced at the low-lying 
sun and then came over to where Bob sat, 
stretched out on her side on the ground 
beside him. 

She smiled up at him, her head cushioned 
on her right arm. "The night ahead may 
Be long," she said simply. "I will rest until 
Chim comes. He would never $*rgive me 
for leaving him behind." 

She dosed her eyes, took a few slow, 
deep breaths and was immediately" asleep. 
Bob blinked in amazement. "That's not 
human," he told himself. "She even sleeps 
like a cat." 

He set his jaw firmly and looked away 
into the jungle. But in less than a minute 
his gaze had crept back to the sleeping form 
beside him. He studied the way. the long, 
blonde hair tumbled about her face and 



shoulders, examined the long lashes lying 
heavy against her golden skin, .watched with 
something more than scientific interest, the 
manner in which her red lips pouted in 
sleep. 

The daylight was nearly gone when Bob 
realized with a start that Sheena's eyes were 
open and that for some time she had been 
silently watching him. 

His confusion wasn't lessened when she 
said. "Chim grows impatient with my 
laziness." 

As though ear plugs had been drawn from 
his ears, he suddenly heard a monkey chatter- 
ing and grumbling in the tree above them.. 
How long the little devil had been there 
he didn't know, but apparently for a con- 
siderable period. And though Chim had 
made enough noise to rouse Sheena from 
sleep, Bob hadn't even been conscious of 
his presence. 

"It was nice to awaken and find you 
sitting beside me," she said, putting a hand 
on his arm. "But I couldn't help but wonder 
what you were thinking that made you 
frown so." 

He got up quickly, avoiding her gaze. 
"I was thinking of the raid," he lied. 

"Oh/* she said quietly. And he had a 
queer feeling that she was smiling in- 
wardly. 

WHILE they waited for it to become 
full dark, they ate a light meal of 
fruit and nuts. Then Sheena called Tamba, 
tied the gourds on him so they wouldn't 
rattle or spill. Like the low, distant rumble 
of thunder, came the roar of a lion. After 
a brief interval, answering cries from 
widely separated points in the jungle could 
be heard. 

"The Bambala are close, but they won't 
do much more traveling tonight," said 
Sheena grimly. "That first roar was Sabor'* 
victory cry, telling the jungle he had made 
an easy kill. Every cat within hearing will 
head for that area. I think we can move 
safely now." 

And so in the pitch blackness before the 
moon rose, Tamba carried them along secret 
trails past the Bambala patrols. Bob, who 
had worried about the nervous, talkative 
Chim going along with them, noticed that 
the monkey huddled in front of Sheena and 



SWORD OF G1MSHAI 



never uttered a sound. He was about ready 
to believe that the jungle girl's pets did 
understand what was going on 

It was after midnight when Sheena halted 
the elephant in a moonlit glade. "We'll do 
our work here," she said. "The kraal is 
within arrow shot." 

She unfastened the gourds, detached two 
of them, lowered the others carefully to 
the ground. 

"I'll paint his head and back," she told 
Bob. "You take care of his legs and 
stomach." 

A half-hour later the patient elephant 
had been smeared completely over with the 
thick, white liquid brewed by Sheena. But 
in the darkness, the liquid revealed a prop- 
erty not discernible during daylight. It 
glowed with an eerie, phosphorescent light. 

Bob stood off and looked at Tamba. "By 
Harry," he exclaimed, "he's the most un- 
earthly-looking sight I ever hope to see. 
And that hazy, bluish glow makes him look 
twice as big as he is. A creature like that 
looming out of the night would frighten 
anyone." 

"The Abama witchwoman who brought 
me up used it in her magic," explained 
Sheena. "I often helped her gather the 
materials and mix it." 

Bob looked at his hands, glowing with 
light from the mixture he had smeared over 
the elephant. "I believe it may work," he 
excitedly declared, "if the Bambala are as 
superstitious as you say." 

"Let us hope so," the girl said quietly. 
"There will be danger enough at best." 

Sheena had picked up the vine rope 
which had been used to tie the gourds on 
Tamba. As she talked, she idly toyed with 
it, forming loose coils on the ground with 
one end, twisting and gathering the other 
end in an odd pattern. 

"Well, this finishes your part of the 
job, anyway," said Bob. "You've been 
wonderful to help me." 

He tried to tell her how grateful he was, 
but he seemed suddenly clumsy with words 
and his voice took on an unnatural brusque- 
ness. 

He finished lamely by saying, "I'd better 
paint myself up now. And then as soon as 
you get me started off on Tamba, 1 want 
you to get away from here — and stay away. 



You've taken too many chances on my 
account already." 

Sheena didn't look at him. She kept her 
head down, her fingers nervously working 
with the rope. "Yes, Bob," she said. 

She seemed small and feminine and 
terribly forlorn in the moonlight. The sight 
of her caught Bob's heart and twisted it. 
He had been a rotten, miserable heel to 
think of her as he had that afternoon. 

He couldn't leave her this way,. He had 
to take her in his arms, tell her how he felt 
about her. He took two steps towards her. 
"Sheena," he said hoarsely, "before I 
go . , ." 

As though her mind had been turned 
inward and she hadn't heard him, she sud- 
denly interrupted. "The paint, Bob— it 
must be dry before you mount Tamba. Hold 
out your hands and let me see if it is drying 
properly." 

Her taut, businesslike tone, so out of 
harmony with the mood that had swept over 
him, stopped Bob in his tracks. Almost 
angrily, he shoved out his hands for her 
inspection. 

As to what happened next, he was to try 
many times afterwards to recall exactly how 
it did occur. But he was never to be entirely 
certain about any of it. 

Sheena leaned as though to inspect his 
hands. The next thing he knew the vine 
rope she had been idly fingering snapped 
about his wrists. "What the devil?" he 
exclaimed. 

Before he could realize what she was 
about, Sheena leaped backwards, the rope 
running through her hands with the speed 
of a striking snake. Then she flipped the 
rope, gave a powerful rug — and Bod's feet 
shot from under him. 

One end of the vine was lashed about 
his wrists, the other about his ankles. There 
had been careful planning behind all her 
nonchalant handling of the rope while they 
talked. The loops she had thrown on the 
ground with seeming carelessness were those 
she flicked upward to lash his ankles, send 
him crashing to the ground. 

Despite the stunning force of the fall he 
took, Bob lashed out wildly, trying to break 
free. After darting in to snatch nis pistol 
from its holster, Sheena stood a safe distance 
away, watching him struggle. He fought like 



a maddened beast, his sanity momentarily 
splintered by the terrible shock of her 
treachery. 

But the bonds held, and at last he lay 
gasping, his muscles trembling from the 
violence of his efforts. Only then did he look 
at her, letting the bitter acid of his wrath 
spill out in words. 

"And to think I believed in you, trusted 
you," he* snarled. "I should have known 
you'd turn on me like an animal if it were 
to your advantage," 

His mouth was a vicious slit, his eyes 
narrow pools of hate. His gun made a dull 
thump as she dropped it at her feet. 

"You fooled me, though," continued 
Bob. "I swallowed all your hocus-pocus, 
never suspecting that you'd use me to buy 
your own safety. Very clever! You hand me 
over to the Bambala and thereby buy them 
off of your own trail. They were getting too 
close for comfort. And you got to worrying 
that if I did raid their kraal and did some 
damage, they'd never forgive you for help- 
ing me." 
Sheena smoothed her hands nervously 
. over her midriff, her face expressionless 
except for the eyes which seemed to glow 
in the night. Finally, her right hand slid 
to the knife riding the curve of her hip. 
The blade gleamed coldly as she lifted it 
from the sheath. 

VI 

BOB was abruptly still as he saw the 
bared steel in the jungle girl's hand. 
Then with withering contempt, he said, 
"Don't lose your head, my precious. The 
Bambala won't pay as much for me dead 
as they will alive. They, too, enjoy the 
pleasure of killing!" 

A deep, pained frown cut Sheena's fore- 
head. She had foreseen everything in her 
planning except Bob's reaction. The awful 
bitterness of his words took her by surprise. 

"Yes, I play a hard trick on you,' she 
said evenly. "But I play it to save your life, 
not take it away." 

She turned her back on him. The gray 
trunk of a dead tree stood at the edge of 
the clearing some thirty paces in front of 
her. She covered half the distance to the 
tree with quick steps. Then Sheena lifted 



JUNGLE STORIES 

the knife, sent it glittering through the ait 
to drive point-first into the dead wood. 

Bob had" lifted himself with difficulty 
to a sitting position. He watched her fling 
the knife into the tree and hurry back to 
where Tamba waited. 



"What did you mean about saving mv 
life?" he demanded. 

She picked up the remaining half-gourd 
of phosphorescent paint, literally poured 
it over her head and shoulders, saving back 
enough to douse the protesting Chim. Then 
she painted both her spear and bow. 

"I meant I am going in your place!" she 
snapped, rapidly smearing the paint evenly 
over her. "Foolish One, Tamba would 
never take your orders, and besides, I knou 
far more about handling the Bambala tlun 
you do." 

He stared at her aghast as she signaled 
Tamba to lift Chim and her to his back. 
"You intended this from the beginning?" 
. "Of course," she said. "If your men and 

facks can be wrested from the Bambala, 
will do it. If I fail, then you will still be 
able to save yourself." 

"No!" he burst out indignantly. "I won't 
allow it!" 

He was working clumsily with his fingers 
to loosen the bonds on his ankles. Since 
Sheena had tied his hands in front of him, 
he had' no trouble reaching his feet. 

"I tied you so you'd have to allow it," 
she said calmly. "And don't waste your 
strength trying to undo those knots. You'H 
need my knife to get free. By the time 
you work your way over to that tree and get 
it loose, it will be too late for you to 
interfere at the kraal. 

Sheena lifted her pet ape, dropped him 
to the ground. 

"However, on second thought I'll leave 
Chim to help take care of you. The noise 
he's making would work me harm, but his 
voice and looks should protect you from 
anything less than a rhino." 

She tried to force a light-hearted gayery 
into her tone, but the attempt wasn't wholly 
successful. "I go now!" she said abruptly, 
lifting her spear in an odd, quick salute. 

Then Tamba was moving past Bob, bear- 
ing Sheena into the jungle. He pleaded with 
her not to go, nearer in his utter helpless- 
ness to tears than at any time since his 



SWORD OF GIMSHAt 



cuff "' childhood. Sheena, sitting ramrod 
straight, didn't look back, ,',..' 

As the dark, green foliage dosed behind 
her, Bob's voice trailed away brokenly. He 
thought of things he had said to her in 
anger and was ashamed and miserable. She 
was going into that village for him and only 
because of him. 

He had called her an animal, immediately 
attributing the basest motives to her. He 
remembered the hurt, surprised look on 
her face as she heard his accusations. Yet 
she hadn't even rebuked him. 

In that moment, the certainty crystallized 
in him that he would never see. Sheena 
again. She was riding to her death! 

In one writhing effort, Bob heaved him- 
self to his feet. He had to get free and 
catch her. He reeled, his legs so tightly 
bound he couldn't balance himself. 

To keep from falling, he started hopping 
forward, each clumsy hop swifter and more 
desperate than the preceding one. But his 
convulsive ofiprts to regain his equilibrium 
were' doomed to failure. He got no mote 
than five yards before he crashed heavily 
to the hard earth. 

The f all knocked the breath from him, 
vet he immediately fought to his elbows and 
knees. He heard a wierd gibberish sounding 
right at his shcrrfder. He jerked his head 
around and saw Chim crouched on bands 
and knees beside him; the ape, his eerily 
glowing face seemingly wreathed with 
diabolical delight, was trying to assume the 
same position as Bob. 
■ The distraaght man's temper exploded. 
."I'll teach you to mock me," he shouted, 
And, he reared up on his knees, lifting his 
bound arms to knock the ape rolling. 

But Chim divined his purpose instantly. 
With an alarmed screech, the ape bounded 
backwards and fled off across the clearing 
like some small, incandescent demon. Bob 
shook his. knotted fists in futile, senseless 
rage. 

CHIM literally flew over the ground, his 
little head twisting right and left in 
search of a safe refuge. The gray outlines 
of the dead tree caught his attention as it 
had Sheena*s when she looked for a place 
to plant the knife. The ape headed for the 
tree. He scrambled up the trunk in mad 



haste, shooting past tW knife to reach the 
bare lower limbs. 

Not until then did he pause to look back. 
His staccato outburst revealed surprise that 
the man hadn't moved. He fell silent, con- 
sidering the matter. Then deciding he was 
quite safe, his whole manner changed and 
he began climbing slowly down the tree, 
grandly announcing his outrage at being 
put upon like a common fellow. 

When Chim reached the knife, he sud- 
denly stopped his tirade. Herecognized the 
scent of his beloved mistress. He gave a de- 
lighted cry and tugged the knife free. 

He beamed on the weapon. It was 
Sheena's. He would return it to Sheena and 
she would be pleased with him. She was 
always very proud of him when he returned 
some belonging of hers that he found. In 
fact, if the truth were known, he often 
stole her belongings so he might return 
thena and have her pleased with him. 

His run-in with Bob had slipped as com- 
pletely out of Chim's erraticlittle mind as 
. had his memory that Sheena was gone. His 
head didn't trouble itself very often to try 
to hold mote than one notion at a time. 

He dropped from the tree and scampered 
happily back toward Bob. He was within 
three yards of the man when he realize 
Sheena was nowhere in sight. Chim had 
been too angry about the white paint being 
poured on him to pay any attention to 
Sheena's departure, and after that, Bob's 
antics had so engrossed him that he still 
didn't realize he had been deserted. 

All at once now it was borne in on him 
that his protector was gone and that the 
terrible night so feared by the tree folk 
kept him from finding her. Chim was sud- 
denly frightened. He looked about at the 
dark trees, imagining fearful enemies star- 
ing at him. 

Bob had no idea what went on in Chim's 
mercurial mind. The white man crouched 
on his knees, his breath coming in hard 
gasps. The ape had the knife. That was 
all that mattered. 

From the moment Chim had pulled the 
knife from the tree and started back toward 
him, Bob had been afraid to speak or move. 
He had to get the weapon from the little 
devil. But how? After the way he had' treat- 
ed the monkey, a word or movement from 



JUNGLE STORIES 



Him would probably scad Chim Bering inco 
the forest. 

He wet his lips nervously. "Here Chirnl 
Good boy, give me the knife." He uttered 
the words like a prayer. "Nice boy. I won't 
hurt you." 

Chim, who had hunkered down into a 
little glowing knot, lifted his head and 
stared mournfully at the white man. Then 
he ducked his face and shivered. 

Bob kept talking in the gentle, wheed- 
ling tone. The monkey wouldn't budge. Bob 
gathered his courage and edged forward a 
few inches. Without even lifting his head, 
Chim edged backward an equal distance. 

Bob groaned. He'd never get the knife, 
never in the world. The little fool under- 
stood and obeyed every word Sheena spoke, 
yet at this moment, when so much depended 
on it, he wouldn't heed a single thing Bob 
said to him. - 

And then abruptly, Bob realized that in 
his excitement, he had been speaking in 
English. With his voice trembling with ex- 
citement, he switched to the Bambala 
tongue. 

Chim straightenedj cocking his head to 
listen. He seemed "to feel better immediate- 
ly. He began to chatter and moved cau- 
tiously in towards the man. 

Bob was careful to make no sudden 
moves. Not until the ape had snuggled 
against him did he gently reach for the 
knife. To his relief, Chim seemed actually 
happy to give the weapon up. Bob's face 
and hands were bathed with sweat and he- 
was shaking as he cut away his rope bonds. 

Hp shoved the knife under his belt, ran 
to where Sheena had dropped his pistol. 
Then gun in hand, he raced toward the 
point where the jungle girl had left the 
clearing, praying that he would be able to 
follow her in the dark. 

He was in luck for once. Tamba had left 
a clear trail where he had forced his way 
through the undergrowth, and within a dis- 
tance of twenty yards, Bob hit a broad trail. 
From the angle at which the elephant had 
slanted into the trail, there was no doubting 
the direction Sheena had taken. 

AS HE started to run, a hysterical jab- 
bering broke out behind him. Chim, 
refusing to be abandoned, came rocketing 



out of tne underbrush and in an amazing 
leap, fastened himself on Bob's back. He 
hugged himself against the white man so 
tightly, his small heart pounding with 
fright, that Bob couldn't bring himself to 
throw him off. 

"AH right," growled Bob. "You cant 
play Old Man of the Sea until we come in: 
sight of the kraal. Then you're going badq 
on your own!" And with that, he sprinted 
on down the trail with redoubted effort. 

After Sheena left Bob tied in the clear- 
ing, she turned her whole mind to the task 
ahead of her, By the time she reached the 
Bambala kraal, the final details of her plan 
were perfected. 

The walled village lay silent and sleeping 
in the waning moonlight. If there wert 
sentries posted, they rested listlessly out of 
sight, lulled by the long, monotonous hours 
of early morning. The campfires had died 
to ash-whitened coals. Sheena had carefully 
selected this as the most propitious .time 
for her raid. 

The jungle girl urged Tamba straight up 
to the big main gate. In these first few 
moments, Boldness w*6uid be her most valu- 
able weapon. When the elephant slowed 
his pace before the gate, not yet understand- 
ing what was expected of him, Sheena 
drummed her heels behind his ears, drove 
him head-on against the massive barrier, 

"Forward; O Mightiest of Elephants,'* 
she encouraged him. "Let these jackals 
know your strength. - 

There was a splintering impact. For t 
moment, the mammoth bull seemed to hesi- 
tate. Then the big gate tore free of cross- 
bars and hinges, fell inward with a mighty 
crash. 

And Tamba, exhilarated by the exploit , 
lifted his trunk and trumpeted an ear-split-j 
ting challenge to all comers as he carried, 
lu's mistress into the kraal. 

Two guards who had been dozing on a 
catwalk Beside the gate, crouched frozen on 
their knees. Their eyes gleameo 1 out of the 
darkness like great, circular bulbs as they 
stared at the ghostly apparition sweeping 
into the kraal. 

"Tremble, you curs," cried Sheena, ges- 
turing toward them with her spear, "for 
the curse of doom is on you! I, wno am the 
servant of Gimshai, dread 1 god of death, 



JUNGLE STORIES 



27 



prodaim this doom on the Bambala!" 

Of all the fearsome jungle deities, the 
all-powerful Gimshai struck the greatest 
terror into the hearts of black men. And as 
every native knew, the servants of Gimshai 
appeared in a thousand thousand different 
forms, struck at their chosen victims in un- 
numbered wars. 

The terror of one of the guards was so 
great that after hearing Sheena's words he 
toppled forward senseless on the platform. 
The other man, quaking in every muscle, 
jerked upright on the platform. Mindless, 
nerve-tearing screams ripped from his 
throat. , . 

He literally dove off the catwalk, hit the 
ground with bone-breaking force. But fear 
anaesthetized any physical hurt he sus- 
tained, and he was on his feet and running 
immediately, streaking down the main way 
of the kraal. 

The guard's screams ripped the blanket 
of sleep from the village. Commands, 
shouts, the sound of running feet boiled up 
from the dark dusters of huts. Dazed men 
and women poured from narrow, skin-hung 
doorways. 

And into the very middle of this sudden- 
ly aroused ant-heap rode Sheena. Straight 
down the principal way of the village she 
went, looking to neither right nor left, the 
one completely calm, collected person in 
all that howling throng. 

She and the mammoth elephant seemed 
enveloped in a swirling, blue-white haze of 
light. Tamba seemed even more immense 
than he really was, and the din of his steady 
trumpeting, inspired by exdtement and the 
scent of the Bambala, was indeed like the 
sound of doom. 

As the blacks, crowding out to learn the 
cause of the disturbance, saw that white, 
statue-like figure that was Sheena, the loud 
furor died away like a fading echo. A low, 
frightened room that could have been the 
keening of the wind over a wasteland swept 
back and beck through the massing natives. 

Then Sheena's voice, harsh and savage, 
was heard. "From the Black Hole of Death, 
from the Skull-Throne of the Terrible God 
himself, I bring you the curse of Gimshai. 
"Look at me, 'O members of a jackal- 
tribe! Look at me and tremble, for I am 
the Clawed Hand of Gimshai; I am the 



Net of the Eater of Souls; I am the Sword 
of the God of Death." 

Her words drove into the minds of the 
Bambala like poisoned darts. Had she re- 
hearsed her speech to Bob Reilly he would 
have thought it suicidal nonsense. But 
Sheena knew how to open the floodgates of 
fear in her audience. 

The entire existence of these wild and 
primitive natives was a web of superstition. 
Any strange or unexplained phenomena 
they attributed to gods or demons. And 
their over-active imaginations seized on 
every untoward event and embroidered it 
with supernatural significance. 

Even now as they gazed at the strange, 
chalk-white she-demon, their imaginations 
swiftly added a variety of details to what 
they thought they saw. There were some 
who saw in the whiteness of her face the 
dear outlines of a deathshead. Others saw 
her long hair, stiffly encrusted with the 
white liquid, as a mass of pale squirming 
snakes. Some would say afterwards her eyes" 
were hollow black sockets, others that they 
were red coals of fire. * 

It would be said that the spear in her 
hand squirmed and wriggled like a living 
thing, that the eerie, elephant-like appari- 
tion she rode was no more than a mist 
through which one could see, that rivulets 
of cold flame ran outward along the ground 
where the creature's feet were placed. 

Sheena's audience was especially impres- 
sionable bn this night when practically the 
whole of its fighting strength was absent 
Excited by their triumph of the previous 
day, every warrior eagerly had sought to 
join the hunt for Bob Reilly and the jungle 
girt 

Left behind in the kraal were the un- 
tried youths, the men too old or sick for 
trekking, and the easily frightened mass of 
women and children. 

Sheena had counted on the absence of 
the real fighting men as a major help in 
the carrying out of her colossal bluff. 

Now as she heard the whimpering of 
the women, saw the crowd edg/i backward 
away from her, she boldly rode into thfe 
central dearing, abandoning any hope of 
retreat. She knew the crowd would mass 
around the open space, and if she were 
found out, that wall of humanity would 



SWO&D OF GIMSHAI 



pprvfBt her from ever reaching the gate 
alive, 

After the habit of the Bambala, both the 
prisoners and the loot gained in their attack 
on Bob's safari were kept on display in the 
clearing. The miserable bearers were 
crowded into a foul, make-shift pen like 
animals, and stacked near the enclosure 
were the packs they once had carried. 

The great feast and the ceremony of di- 
viding the spoils which always followed a 
battle triumph were being delayed until 
Bob and Sheena were captured. 

Sheena headed the elephant toward the 
pen, wanting to free the prisoners and 
march them out of the kraal before the 
stunned tribesmen could collect their wits. 

But suddenly two of the large cooking 
fires in the clearing flickered into life. Yel- 
low tongues of flame reached along the 
edges of the dry wood which had been 
thrown hastily on the coals. Sheena under- 
stood then the purpose of the commands 
that had sounded in the first uproar of her 
entrance, for revealed in the mounting light 
was a hollow square of armed guards 
grouped about two men, the two most im- 
portant men in the tribe. 

One was Babuli, the immensely fat chief- 
tain of the Bambala, a brutal, self-indulgent 
tyrant. The other was Nyag-Nyag, a tall, 
thin, one-eyed man with a hatchet face and 
the hunched posture of a crouching weasel. 

Nyag-Nyag was the Bambala witchdoc- 
tor, and more than any ..other member of 
the tribe, he had reason to hate Sheena, for 
time and again the most potent magic he 
could make against her had proved ineffec- 
tual. 

VII 

SHEENA instantly was disturbed when 
she saw the two tribal leaders with the 
ranks of hard-bitten guards ranged about 
them. She certainly hadn't counted on their 
presence. Improvising to meet this unex- 
pected danger, she hastily ^changed her 
plans and halted Tamba. 

Gesturing contemptuously with her spear, 
she cried, "Hai! So now I look upon the 
two chief jackals!" 

The elephantine Babuli clearly was more 
shaken by her ghostly appearance than the 



witchdoctor. "Why— why— Haft you come 
here?" he asked weakly. 

Sheena was silent for long, ominous mo- 
ments. Then like the crack of a whip her 
voice lashed him. "I come to take your soul 
to ever-lasting torment! Even now, Gimshai 
wrathfully awaits your coming!" 

The mammoth chieftain stumbled back a 
step, his great belly quivering. The harsh 
confidence with which she spoke turned his 
blood to ice. 

"There is some terrible mistake," he 
quavered. "Never by word or deed have I 
shown disrespect for Gimshai! Aaiiee, he 
is the greatest of gods! In all. the jungle, 
no one has sent him more souls than Ba- 
buli." 

"It's too late to lie," Sheena said grimly. 
"You honor but one god, N'Koto, god of 
war, and it is he who has led you to your 
downfall. Two suns ago you made a cow- 
ardly attack upon the safari of one who 
holds the special favor of Gtmshai. The 
Taker of Souls reached out his hand and 
saved this white man, saying for the de- ■ 
struction you had wrought you would pay 
with your. life. And so I have come to exact 
payment!" 

Babuli seemed to be choking. His eyes j 
stood out like round, red marbles. Poisoned 
by a lifetime of superstition, he felt that . 
already the life-force was being sucked from ! 
his body, that the fluttering in his throat 
was his soul struggling to escape. 

"Talk to her! Appease her!' he gasped 
to the witchdoctor. "You know more of 
gods and demons than I do. Promise any- 
thing — anything — if she will let me be." 

With his one good eye, the witchdoctor 
had been glaring at Sheena. He was not as 
naive as Babuli, nor as superstitious as the 
other tribesmen. He had practiced too mucin 
trickery and deceit, pawned off too much ; 
humbug as magic, to be taken in easily by 
Sheena '$ tricks. 

He sensed something familiar in this 
ghostly intruder, noted also how she sought 
to keep back out of the firelight. It seemed 
to him that every time an especially high 
leap of the flames lighted her mount that 
its eerie blue-white glow disappeared. 

Yet because he was both a cunning man 
. and a coward, Nyag-Nyag proceeded with 



JUNGLE STORES 



He pushed trough the ranks of war- 
riors, picked a blazing stick from the fire. 
He lifted the torch high as though to clearly 
lioht himself for Sheena's eyes. 

^•Hear me, O One Who Walks the 
Night," he said in a false, fawning voice. 
"I make no plea for my worthless, unim- 
portant self, but I do plead for the aobie 
Babuli." 

He edged nearer to Tamba as he talked, 
narrowly watching the effect of the torch- 
light on the elephant's glowing whiteness. 
. "Never would Babuli knowingly offend 
the dread Taker of Souls," he continued. 
v If a wrong has been done by Babuli, he 
stands ready to make any gifts, offerings 
or sacrifices the god decrees. Intercede for 
us, O Great One, and the Bambala will 
honor you endlessly. Help us to right our 
unmeant wrong? You have only to speak 
and we will obey." 

Relief surged through Sheena as she lis- 
tened to Nyag-Nyag's abject beseeching. 
The feeling that she had triumphed lessened 
her wariness, so that she failed to divine 
the witchdoctor's purpose in coming so 
near. 

"Gimshai is merciful, as are bis serv- 
ants," she said haughtily. "If you have the 
courage to accompany me into the Blade ■ 
Hole of Death to plead your case before 
the god himself, you may do so— remem- 
bering that if you fail, there can be no 
return." 

Nyag-Nyag seemed to debate before 
muttering, "I have the courage." 

. Sheena stared at him. "But you must ap- 
proach Gimshai with dean hands." She ges- 
tured at the BBprisooed bearers and stacked 
loot. "You must give up the spoils of your 
cowardly attack. You must free the beards 
and give .them bade their arms and you must 
furnish men to* carry these packs -to their 
destination." 

The huge-bellied chieftain, who had 
been bathed in sweat as he waited for 
Sheena's answer, literally shouted his ac- 
ceptance of ber terms. He was concerned 
wiffi his owo;«fety only, and cared not a 
whit that he mignt be sending a largegroup 
of tat followers to their death. 

"All shall be as you say!" Babuli shouted 
hoarsely, hot wanting to give the witch- 
doctor time to back out of his bargain. Then 



he turned to his guards in the same frOi 
zied haste, crying, "Release the prisoners! 
Gather men enough to carry the packs! 
Quickly, you curs!" 

But even as the chieftain spoke, Nyag- 
Nyag sprang back away from Tamba, swirl- 
ing the torch about his head. "No!" he 
roared, "Let no man move." * 

T3ABULI was so aghast that it took him 
■*■* a moment to find his voice. His body 
quivered in outrage at this treachery. "I am 
chieftain here," he croaked. 

"You're a fool, Babuli," snarled the 
witchdoctor, "as blind and stupid a fool as 
all these others!" 

It was in Nyag-Nyag's mind that after 
tonight he would never again have to bend 
his knee to the fat chieftain. What he was 
about to. do would make Babuli a laughing- 
stock at the same time that it enhanced his 
own reputation as a wizard., 

"Because I amuse, myself by toying with 
this faker," the witchdoctor said, pointing 
at Sheena, "don't take my acting seriously. 
She is no demon, no servant or Gimshai." 

"What are you saying?" squeaked the 
chieftain, seeing his chances of salvation 
being shattered before his eyes. 

Nyag-Nyag laughed, thinly, baring bis 
yellow teeth. ."I'm saying this supposed 
demon is merely Ttotp Nomi, the Forest 
Woman. I'm saying it takes more than chil- 
dren's tricks to fool the jungle's greatest 
wizard." 

Dismay had wrenched Sheena stiffly up- 
right But her reaction was no different 
from* that which shook Babuli and his 
tribesmen. The witchdoctor's words had ex- 
ploded with the violence of a thunderbolt. 

"You madman!" wailed Babuli. "You'll 
get us all killed. You know as well as I 
that our warriors are pursuing Tioto Nomi 
far across the jungle. 

Nyag-Nyag had backed dose to the 
guards. He tossed away his torch, took a 
spear and shield from one of the blacks,* 
Then he ran out into the open space be- 
tween Sheena and' the warriors. 

"Watch this test, my simple Babuli," he 
sneered. "And you need not faint from 
terror, because the risk falls on me alone." 
His whole manner was supremely 1 confi- 
dent "A thousand shields, would not pro- 



30 



JUNGLE STORIES 



tect mc from ft *.™«tf of Giroshai, because 
such a servant would be able to kill with a 
glance — a sign — a thought." 

The ugly laughter bubbled from his lips 
again. After tonight, his name would ring 
through the jungle. 

"But one shield is protection enough 
against Tioto Norm," he said, "because her 
only weapon is her spear. She has no magic 
powers. Watch while I prove it! And stand 
ready, guards, to strike her down when she 
betrays herself by trying to use her one, 
puny weapon." 

Sheena sat stupefied, a knot of panic grow- 
ing and spreading in her breast. The cun- 
ning, one-eyed dango had trapped her. She 
sought -in futile desperation for some 
means of escape, knowing full well that 
the game was played out, 

Nyag-Nyag was leaping and dancing in 
front of her, always careful to protect him- 
self behind the thick, heavy shield of rhino 
hide. "Quickly, Tioto Nomi," he taunted, 
"loose your terrible magic. Kill me with a 
look! Kill me with a thought!" 

A stifling hush gripped the kraal. In the 
shadows around the central clearing, black 
men crouched, afraid to breathe. Babuli 
leaned forward, his face like gray paste, his 
mouth hanging loosely open. 

"Come, O Would-be Demon,"* the 
prancing wizard jeered, "I wait for you to 
strike. Why do you hesitate? You try my 
patience, make me weary of this farce." 

Sheena' s mouth was dust-dry. The death 
she had sought to save Bob Rf illy from 
was to. be hers. And now he was to be lost 
to her finally and forever. 

An ominous muttering stirred the watch- 
ing blacks. Nyag-Nymg's ridicule was having 
its effect. Already the guards were edging 
forward, their Wads tightening on their 
if ri 

Sheens/ s own spear arm tensed. Her bluff 
was finished. At Teat, she would take a few 
of them with her. She gritted her teeth, 
prepared to send Tamba charging into the 
guards. 

Nyag-Nyag's gloating laughter rang 
high. "Hear me, Tioto Nomi," he shrilled. 
"I spit on you and on your fathers! What 
greater insult can one give?" 

His pjunong and his high-pitched 
jemrns were to* much for Tamba. The 



huge bull elephant lifted his trunk and 
trumpeted with ear-splitting violence. The 
very air shivered with the raging sound. 

Nyag-Nyag looked up startled. Then a 
very strange thing happened. The hatchet- 
faced wizard gave a queer backward leap as 
though he had been struck a powerful blow. 
His face twisted in agony and he staggered. 

He let the spear drop from his fingers, 
and the weight of the shield slowly drew 
his left asm down to his side. His stringy] 
muscles began jerking and twitching. 

His single eye bulged with terror. Then 
his long thin legs started to buckle. All at; 
once his mouth strained wide and a great 
wash of blood rushed from his lips. 

That was the end. Nyag-Nyag toppled 
forward on his face and lay stilt. 

Tamba fell silent at almost that same 
moment. It was unbelievable that a native] 
kraal could be so still. And in that pro- 
found hush, you could feel terror sweep like 
a black wind over the stunned natives, 

Sheena was as shocked as the tribesmen. 
She stared blankly at the dead wizard. She 
hadn't moved a muscle to harm him, yet 
there lay the hated Nyag-Nyag, stiffening 
in death. 

What miracle was this? What invisible 
power had reached out in her hour of need j 
to strike down that human dango? 

But the jungle girl was given no time to 
dwell on that mystery. Babuli's hysterical 
screams jolted her alert. The hog-fat chief- 
tain had crumbled to his knees and was 
beseeching her not to kill -him, not to blame 
him for Nyag-Nyag's blasphemies. Tribes- 
men all about the clearing were groveling 
in abject terror. 

They thought she bad slam the wizard! 

SHE moved swiftly to take advantage of 
the situation. Though so upset herself 
that she could barely keep her voice from 
trembling, Sheena sternly repeated the de- 
mands she had made before. And this time 
the prisoners were immediately freed and 
Babuli's disarmed guards hurriedly loaded 
themselves down with the stolen packs with 
no thought of opposing Sheena. 

Babuli collapsed in a blubbering heap, 
but Sheena delegated four of the bearers 
to prod him to his feet with their spears. 
The remaining bearers she placed along 



SWORD OF GIMSUAI 



both sides of the pack-laden Bambala. 

"Now trek," she shouted. "And any man 
who causes trouble will join Nyag-Nyag 
in his ever-lasting torment." 

Her threat sent the column through the 
kraal at a stumbling trot. All idea of re- 
sistance was gone from the Bambala. As 
she urged Tamba after the bearers, the 
natives pressed their faces in the dirt, afraid 
to look at her. 

Once outside the kraal, she forged to the 
head of the column, leading it back along 
the trail toward where she had left Bob 
Reilly. But before she had gone very far, 
she heard a frantic chattering, saw an eerie, 
glowing little figure come skittering down 
the dim path toward her. 

"Chim!" she cried in surprise, and with 
a quick command, she had the elephant 
swing the little ape up beside her. 

Chim bounded into her arms, fairly sput- 
tering with delight at finding his mistress 
again. Then Shecna's keen ears heard an- 
other sound. She looked up to see Bob ad- 
vancing out of the darkness. Her initial 
thought was that he might still be angry at 
her. 

But there was unutterable relief, not 
anger, in his voice as he exclaimed, "Thank 
heavens you're out of that place at last! 
You were crazy to take such a chance, but 
it was the most wonderful thing I've ever 
seen." 

"You mean you saw what went on in the 
kraal?" she asked, surprised. 

"I not only saw — thanks to Chim, not 
you," he said, "but I took a small part in 
the proceedings. I'll frankly admit that I 
could never have pulled off the bluff you 
did." 

He told her then how when he reached 
the kraal the witchdoctor had just begun 
to taunt her. Since the natives were alt con- 
centrated in die center of the village, he 
was able to enter the gate unobserved. He 
had* sneaked dose to the clearing, climbed 
up on a pile of wood stacked beside a hut 

With his pistol, he had blasted Nyag- 
Nyag. The sound of the shot had been cov- 



ered by Tamba's wrathful trumpeting. And 
the unholy fear that had struck into the 
Bambala when they saw their witchdoctor 
die,' had kept them from suspecting that 
any hand but Gimshai's had slain Nyag- 
Nyag. 

"So you were the one who saved me," 
she said wonderingly, 

Bob laughed. "I believe I could say the 
same for you." 

They were a mile further down the trail 
and the false dawn was graying the sky 
when Sheena halted the elephant. 

Bob sat behind her on the forest giant's 
back. "What do we do now?" he asked. 

She gave him a long, searching look. 
"You will take Babuli and his guards with 
you and see that they are punished. You'll 
have no more trouble with the Bambalf, 
so you can easily reach white man's country 
with your records.'' 

"You — you — aren't going out with me?" 
Bob was surprised and confused. 

"This is my own land," she said, gestur- 
ing toward the a*ark jungle with her hand. 
"There are many things I can do to make 
it a better land. I have found myself tonight, 
as the old witchwoman once prophesied I 
would." 

Her head lifted and she looked up at the 
brightening sky. 

"But you can't stay here, a lone girl," 
said Bob. "I've grown very fond of you, 
Sheena. I want you to go with me. I thought 
that you and I . . ." 

"Even if I wished it," she interrupted 
him gently, "I could not go with you. I am 
a priestess and more to the Abamas. They 
have been awaiting the day when I would 
be ready to lead them. And now I am 
ready. It would mean your certain death if 
you tried to take me away." 

And so it was that a frowning, unhappy 
man a few minutes later watched Sheena 
ride away alone toward the Abama kraal. 
He stood there with the soft warmth of her 
good-bye kiss on his lips, vowing that 
Abama warriors or not, he would be- back 
as soon as his trek to the coast was finished. 






Artwork from first and second 
pages of story.